Back to the remarkable Morton Bartlett (see earlier posting). I first saw Bartlett’s work at the Outsider Art Fair in NYC in 2010 – Marion Harris owns the collection. In his very private life, between 1936 to 1963, Bartlett created sculptures of half-size-to-scale children and made the clothes to dress them – from frocks and hand-knit sweaters for the girls to shorts and caps for the boys. The aim of Bartlett’s remarkable project seems to have been to photograph his children doing things that ordinary children do. But we’ll never know for sure. His work was done entirely in private, and only became public after he died in 1992.
The Bartlett collection is being exhibited in Berlin from May to September. The Bahnhof Museum has an incredible 2-year exhibit underway, called Secret Universe. Every 4 months, the exhibit will profile the work of 6 outsider artists who created their work secretly. The children-sculptures, along with the photographs will be on display.
This video clip, called Family Found tells you more about Bartlett than I can: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0TO7NEdKWk&feature=youtu.be
This 9-minute clip, takes you to Bartlett’s large family home in Boston, where he lived on only one floor, making and photographing his imaginary family of 15 children. Marion talks about how she found his collection of photographs, negatives, and dolls at an estate sale. Kahlil Gibran, a downstairs neighbour of Bartlett, talks about the reclusive artist, and what they remember of his private life. His photos, not the dolls, were the whole point of his creation about loss and yearning. As one interviewee expresses, we are thankful that Marion was there to appreciate the worth of Bartlett’s collection. Indeed. Thank you, Marion.