The Fussy Eye: Rolling Slogans

Please don't park in the gallery.

At a certain point, outsider art gets taken into the gallery, like a stray cat. That's what happened to Henry Darger and Howard Finster. But some folk creations have to stay outside as, literally, parked cars. I don't mean the cute vehicles you see on parade at the Fremont Fair, adorned with living grass, bowling trophies, toy soldiers, mirror mosaics, and finger-painted murals. Those could be domesticated and displayed. But not so the message cars—or in this case, message bus—you'll occasionally spot on the freeway or find parked beneath an overpass with the shades drawn. The car is the final refuge of the dispossessed; it's the last thing you lose before homelessness. Think of angry Okies heading out of the Dust Bowl, with slogans scrawled on their Model T's. Even in polite Seattle, where the Prius rules, the Darwin vs. chrome Christian fish insignias continue their debate in the Fred Meyer parking lot. Tea Party bumper stickers run amok on other vehicles (usually larger and with gun racks). But there's a bold, awkward, hand-lettered sincerity to what I'll call the Pope = The Devil Bus, which was parking itself all around Seattle long before all the recent pedophile/priest stories came to light. That's not to endorse the anti-Catholic diatribes scrawled all over it, but you've got to admire the commitment to a cause, however bizarre. Whether you want to debate the two gray-haired owners, who appear to live inside, is another matter—more theology than art. 

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