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About the Show
Visionary art is one of the least documented areas in the art world. It’s also one of the fastest growing areas of art, and the central thematic concern in Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations. Just in the last 10 years, we’ve seen three major museums open, dedicated to the world of outsider art -- in Beaumont, Texas, the Museum of Southeast Texas; in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Jan Michael Kohler Center for the Arts; and in Baltimore, Maryland, the grandaddy of them all, The American Visionary Art Museum. Sadly, at the same time, visionary sites are disappearing at a rapid clip. As is so often the case, the artist passes on and the site falls into disrepair, and before long someone bulldozes it down, and a piece of our collective art consciousness is gone forever. And quite frankly, if it's been documented at all, it's often only due to luck and happenstance. Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations has become a serious repository of interviews and photographic documentation of a good number of these site, some of which are already gone.
Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations seeks out this world of the Visionary arts, and in a road show format, brings the artists and the artwork to the viewers of Public Television. Along the way, we mix in the odd and the unusual; the roadside attractions that we like to say "your father would never stop the car for," making a show not only about art, but one that we believe celebrates human creativity. And though it may be an unusual approach to a show about art, we think it attracts viewers who might never sit down to actually watch “a show about art!” We believe the correspondence sprinkled throughout this website is a testimonial to that.
Meet The Big Ball of Tape!
In 1982 Randy and Don made a pilgrimage to Cawker City, Kansas. The local folks were holding a Labor Day twine-a-thon to add girth to the Big Ball of Twine smack dab in the middle of town. Seems there were other balls in other places making clams to be the "world's largest," and by winding twine together, Cawker City-ites hoped to regain the title.Inspired by this event (and a check from TVs "Ripleys Believe It or Not") the boys decided to create a record-holder of their own, using something they had plenty of close at hand - 3/4" videotape. All tape, no cereal filler. Actually, like most of us, the ball had an awkward adolescence. Outbreaks of strange bumps and split ends. In the mid-80s Randy dragged it along to the local TV show "All Night Live," and took a series of PR shots heralding its presence. Stardom seemed to beckon. Then tragedy struck. David Letterman rejected it. Twice!
For years after, the humble orb lived in a Prairie Village garage, glimpsed only by the producer’s kids and an occasional workman. Then, in 1995, as a way to "announce our intentions," the ball came out of retirement and joined the "Rare Visions" crew on a jaunt across Kansas. The rest, as they say, is history…