Museum of Wonder showcased the work of Butch Anthony, a self-taught artist, storyteller, and maker of oddities. This unique exhibition of Anthony’s work explored the power of an “art environment,” when art’s meaning is influenced by the space around it. For this exhibition, Anthony will re-created portions of his art environment in Seale, Alabama, and included installations in the museum’s gallery space, as well as in the public arena.
Anthony utilizes a number of techniques in his work – including painting, mixed media collage, large-scale sculpture, and embroidery – pushing the boundaries of found materials into new creations. Out-of-the-box and unique to Anthony’s imagination, he even invented his own term for what he does –Intertwangleism. His work uses found objects and often explores questions of identity. He is most recognized for the 19th century portraits that he finds in antique stores or yard sales, then paints over with skeletons and mythical creatures.
He also built “The World’s First Drive Thru Museum” out of shipping containers. It sits off of U.S. Hwy 431 in Seale, Alabama, and exhibits a rotating display of Anthony’s handcrafted curiosities and collections. Anthony founded the Possum Trot, a barbeque restaurant turned junk auction house, and the Museum of Wonder, where his wonderful creations and bizarre collections can be admired and purchased. His original designs and compositions are acclaimed both regionally and internationally.
This exhibition was organized by the Wiregrass Museum of Art and was the first exhibition in a three-part series recognizing Alabama’s Bicentennial and the Alabama Bicentennial Commission’s theme for 2017, Discovering Our Places.
It featured the re-creation of the Museum of Wonder, Dothan’s very own Drive-Thru Museum, and a digital billboard campaign featuring the “intertwangled” portraits of local residents.
Museum of Wonder was made possible by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in celebration of the bicentennial of Alabama’s statehood and by The Daniel Foundation of Alabama.
Butch Anthony at the Museum of Wonder in Seale, Ala – Photograph by Kate Farmer
Butch Anthony’s Cabinet of Curiosities in WMA”s Main Gallery – Photograph by Amanda Holcomb