Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rockmore Revisited: A Treasure Trove Revealed

The Tomb of Rockmore
by John Ed Bradley

“Noel Rockmore was a fascinating, oddball, homegrown American surrealist,” says Dan Cameron, a curator of contemporary art best known for his work as artistic director of U.S. Biennial, the organization that produces Prospect New Orleans. “In the last year or so I’ve participated in some interesting discussions with friends and colleagues in New Orleans whom I respect, and there’s no denying what they think about him. These are people who don’t use the word genius very often, but they all use it when discussing Rockmore.”
The artist, it turns out, had often called on Shirley Marvin when he needed money over the course of their thirty-three-year friendship, and Rockmore, who died in 1995 at age sixty-six, seemed to always need money. The bulging contents in the storage unit were testament to his brilliance, but they also revealed Shirley’s devotion to an artist who produced some fifteen thousand works of art in his lifetime and who might have become America’s Picasso if not for crushing battles with alcoholism and bipolar disorder that, by the end of his days, had reduced him to a bona fide lunatic and a virtual pariah in the art world. More>> (From Garden & Gun)