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Sacred Spaces & Other Places: A Guide to…

Sacred Spaces & Other Places: A Guide to Grottos & Sculptural Environments…

by Lisa Stone

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The book catalogs and describes various grottos and outdoor sculpture parks designed and built by outsider artists around the turn of the century. The book showcases nearly all the grottos and outdoor sculpture parks in the upper Midwest, though a few are notably absent.

The book describes the colorful characters behind each grotto or sculpture park and explains their motivations and inspirations behind each one. I had always wondered why these strange places were built relatively all around the same time, and wondered who influenced whom? As it turns out, the real story is much more bizarre than I had expected. Many of these untrained artists were not even aware of others doing much the same thing. The odds of all these people creating such similarly odd structures around the same time and mostly independently are astronomical. Where they tapping into some kind of collective artistic consciousness of the age? No one knows. We can only speculate where these eccentric artists were getting their ideas.

I've visited many of these grottos; however, the book tipped me off to dozens of others that were completely unknown to me. The back of the book includes a map of the upper Midwest with each grotto or sculpture garden plotted out. A few no longer exist, but it shows the reader where they once stood.

Over all it was a great and very informative book. My only gripe is that the photos are all in black and white. Grottos are generally very colorful places, so color pictures would have added a lot. ( )
  Dead_Dreamer | Feb 8, 2010 |
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