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INTRODUCTION

 About Anton Haardt

 

   WELCOME

My name is Anton Haardt and I’m  a Short Story  Writer, Folk Art Gallery  owner and  full time Artist, and  Author  of Mose T From  A to  Z: TheFolk art of Mose Tolliver,  Published in 2007.

 Here  is some information  about me.

 

The World of Anton Haardt 

A native of  the Deep South , I was born in  Alabama. I  began painting at the age of eight, going with  my  Mammy Zora to an old and rickety third floor studio for classes taught by an aged Mrs. Wilkerson. My uncle was H.L. Mencken, the well known Baltimore critic. My aunt was Sara Haardt, a writer of southern fiction in the 1930's.  Later, I attended Washington University and the San Francisco Art Institute, where I  earned a degree in printmaking in 1971.

 I grew up dreaming of being any place but there, and I left as quickly as I could.  With time and education I began to gain an understanding of the complicated realities of the South,  and through travel I learned to appreciate my own culture. .I suppose  my  instinct   for travel and the unusual that lead me to study the art of southern self-taught and visionary artists.I  developed an ongoing interest in folk art in the early 1970's after I met self-taught painter Mose Tolliver, who lives near her family home in Montgomery

  Over the years my  love of travel took me  to Mexico City where I lived in the Zona Rosa and attended classes at El Molino. Later I gained admittance to Instituto Allende and lived for a year in San Miguel De Allende, where I studied many art mediums. In 1982, I opened Anton Haardt Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Montgomery Alabama, and in October 2001, I another opened another gallery on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Both galleries display works by academically trained and self-taught artists from the American South, as well as traditional art from Latin America.

  In the early  1970’s I  lived in Mexico  and  created  a   novel   titled Santo Negri , based on a true story  about  a couple, where one was  imprisoned and the other  was   a  visitor.  Both  one by  choice and one by  necessity   spent one year and  half in in  a   100 year old  French built Mexican Prison   until  the prisoner escaped through the sewer pipes. The book was never published and  only  in 2014   I re-edited it  and offered it   for  publication as an E-Book.

 

Like many, my road to becoming an author wasn't an easy one. I wrote in a variety of genres  mostly  travel  journal  entries from 1971 to 1987. I  first   attempted to find a Publisher  and Agent for my Mose T  A to Z  book   in  1992  and after  numerous  rejections I  did  not  give up.  I  decided to    finish my book  and other  writing projects I formed my own publishing  company  Saturno Press  in 2005.   I created a beautiful    Coffee Table Book   Mose T  From A to  Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver, in  2007  after many years of work. The Book  has won may Awards   and received     many  favorable Book Reviews.

 

 In 1981 I began another   Memoir, Run Toward the Sun: Remembering Juanita Rogers, about another Alabama Folk Artist, Juanita Rogers. I  became a frequent visitor to her home near  Montgomery.  

Over the years I amassed many hours of audio and video-taped interviews with  Juanita Rogers and her rural primitive surroundings, and photographed her and many of her creations. Folk artist Juanita Rogers was an uneducated black woman living in a dilapidated shack outside Montgomery, Alabama. She had a powerful creative talent and mystifying spirit. Juanita’s crumbling sculptures were made of mud, moss and bones: frightening evidence of compulsion. The haunting figures were part of Juanita’s stories of magic stones, nuns and graveyard dirt. Much defied logic. I visited her regularly and eventually became her confidant and the mender of her mud creations. I choose not to dismiss her as crazy but instead to explore the mystery of her creative drive. Our challenging climb to friendship continued till her death in 1985.The two of us through our struggles transcended our barriers and together united to preserve and further Juanita's mission. Run Toward the Sun is the celebration of this unique and obstinate artist and my quest to document and elevate her life’s work.

The book is filled with Photographs  and quotes  from   Rogers . The book also contains one essay on Juanita Rogers and her work. Folk art scholar, Tom Paterson, has provided an art-historical Introduction.By way of comparison, Run Toward the Sun: Remembering Juanita Rogers bears thematic similarities to Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez’ non-fiction book The Soloist, in which Lopez, a relatively privileged Los Angeles journalist, befriends and assists a mentally ill man who lives homeless on the Los Angeles streets but turns out to be a  musical prodigy and dropout from New York’s Julliard School of Music

  I    continuously working on a  series  of Southern  Short Stories based on my  life in the deep south of Alabama. Those  stories (written from 1987  - 2011    transcribed  from my   ubiquitous  Journals)  eventually became   A Short Story Anthology,  Wisteria Pentimentos:Stories of the South  . I  traveled  frequently during 1971   until  1987 : to  South America,   North  Africa, Mexico   and parts of Europe.   Photographing  my travels   and keeping a Sketch  book  for many   drawings from my   travel Journals 1971-1987. These   Journals of   vignettes and  longer  short stories  became     my    Anthology of     Vignettes    tilted  Let’s  Get Lost: Raquachismo  Travel Vignettes .Both of these Anthologies are now  E-Books available  through  my  Website.

          Meanwhile   life became more difficult. I  was  unsucessfull to    find  an Agent for my Projects, and found  I  had less time o devote  to my   Art and writing. In my personal life   I    wanted to have  child but infertility halted  that progress.  My  biological   clock was ticking  and  we fortunately tried  Invitro.With the miraculous birth of  my son  Haardt  Moes,  one of the first 5000    invitro    Babies, I became a mother.   Raising my  son  took over as big portion of my   life to care for  him.  Being an only child myself  with  my  mother  in her eighties,  I   desperately    tried to incorporate  Family with my Profession.


To  make matters more difficult, I  had chosen to live in a  primitive   jungle village  in Mexico  without electricity, rampant with the  treacherous  Scorpions  and other jungle  adversities. In  an article on me in Puerto  Vallarta Mexico Banderas  News  I said:   " My home in Yelapa, Mexico, a primitive fishing village overlooks the sparkling Pacific Ocean. The rolling paths and lush jungles of Mexico have inspired my art; creating a unique mix of familiar and fantastic, tropical and urban. For most of those years, I lived with no electricity and painted with only natural light." You can   see our  Yelapa home at http://www.vrbo.com/298403

Self-publishing in the early years wasn't very profitable, but the number of  Books  that I sold  grew (along with the popularity of  folk art in those days). Things got better.

I  continued my quest as a  professional  Artist  and regularly had Exhibits of my work  in America  and Europe. I had  graduated from San Francisco Art Institute in 1971. I studied  printmaking  in school and for many years  I have  made Lithogrpaphy prints, collages, and  paintings.

I  have photographed  places and people all over  the world. Although I have been photographing   my surroundings for many  years , I had only taken a few courses  in Photography. Many of my photographs , as well as my paintings have sold at Auction  and to  prominent collectors.

Most recently  some of my photographs  and writings  of  Folk Artists have  ben published  such as

the essay I wrote on Juanita Rogers for Bill Arnett’s  Book  on Vernacular Southern Art, Souls Grown Deep.

 My  work has  been displayed imn many  galleries and Museums. I  was  given a  One Person  show at The Montgomery Museum of Art  and   I  have won numerous Competitions  such as   Los Angeles  International Art Competition.   My art work  is in prominent collections such as the Tampa Museum and in the    Blount Collection. See  More  of my Art  work  at : .  http://antonart.com/moolar/bio.html

 

My latest  Mose Tolliver Book   project :  An  Interactive Mose T  a to Z book  

 In  2012 , I  began working  with  photographer and video specialist,Gary St Martin , on  an interesting   project, a  revolution in the accessibility   for  my  Folk Art book on  Mose Tolliver.There has  been an obvious  rise in  the creation of  interactive  publishing recently.  I had  always   had  a nostalgia about the smell and feel of  a paper book, but  I've now gravated  toward  interactive media,which has  given a  new  very exciting  edge  for  my   folk art  book on Mose Tolliver. 

Viewing a  book, by  adding  electronic media   is  now a contemporary digital reality ,  and my Mose   T book  may be the first interactive  book  on a Souther Folk Artist, or at least  one of the first!

My Mose  Tolliver book   is now updated  with  very unique, innovative, interactive experiences that piques curiosity, spurs discovery, and inspires . It is available for  download  where each page comes to life. With  this   interactive  addition, the artwork takes on the shape of an event. We   are  almost   finished   with  very  technical stages    that   will bring   to life    Mose's  art work  and  will  enhance the experience  of  learning about  Mose T's life. It  will provide  a sense of steering through his world, with active links  to    bring my  Mose T    book  to  another dimension (music, audio interviews,videos,slideshows, pop up windows, etc). 

 

So what's next?   My  book on Mose Tolliver  will be available   this month through    Gary's    EPub site.With  the   masterful   help of  Gary St. Martin,  Run Toward the Sun :Remembering  Juanita  Rogers   is almost  completed as an Ipad book.  This past year I   came up with the  idea of  combining my  artistic talents with my writing abilities  and    turned my short  story anthologies into a sort of Collaged    Vignette,      each  with    my numerous Photographs  and  Drawings. I’m currently   combining   many    drawings   in  a  sort of photo- montgage and  hope to make  the E-books also available as  a  paper publications.

          After twenty five years, I  continue to live in the same primitive jungle village  , which now  has electricity. I  spend the rest of my time  in  our New Orleans home in the stately old Garden District neighborhood,  across the street from the   site of the  F Scott Fitzgerald   story -made  movie Benjamin  Buttons  and a block from home of  Actress Sandra Bullock.

 

So, that’s a bit about me and what I’m up to from a writing and personal  perspective. If you want to reach me, contact information follows.   I  hope to have my   creations  reviewed by    any Book Reviewers. I’m  still  open to   finding an Agent , if the right Agent should come  along. I  would  also enjoy hearing from readers so don’t be afraid to drop me a line.

 

Thanks for visiting my Publishing  site , and I hope you’ll become a follower,when I get my blog up.  I   am  always  curious  if people are interested in what I have to say.

 

  Thanks!  From Anton

HOW TO CONTACT:

email:  anton3@earthlink.net

Website-  www.antonart.com    http://www.saturnopress.com

facebook (personal): www.facebook.com/ anton haardt

facebook (author):www.facebook.com/author.anton haardt

 

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Books

 

Thank you for your interest in my short stories, my  Folk Art Books  and my Art. Here is a brief overview to the books listed below:

 

 

BOOKS  AVAILABLE

 

1.Mose T  From a to  Z: The Folk art of Mose Tolliver

By  Anton Haardt

 

From inside the book

What people are saying - Reviews

Watch a trailer about the book  here   You tube

Read Sample

Listen audio

View  Video

Buy book

 

 2.Run Toward the  Sun    Remembering Juanita Rogers

By  Anton Haardt

 

From inside the book

What people are saying - Reviews

Watch a trailer about the book  here   You tube

 

Read Sample

Listen audio

View  Video

Buy book

 

 

 3. Wisteria Pentimento:  Haardt to Haardt, An Anthology of  Short Stories

By Anton Haardt

From inside the book

What people are saying - Reviews

Watch a trailer about the book  here   You tube

 

Read Sample

Listen audio

View  Video

Buy book

 

 

 

4.  Let's   Get Lost: Raquachismo, An Anthology of  Travel  Journal  Vignettes

By Anton Haardt

From inside the book

What people are saying - Reviews

Watch a trailer about the book  here   You tube

 

Read Sample

Listen audio

View  Video

Buy book

 

 

5. Santo Negri: The Most Expensive Hotel

By Anton Haardt

From inside the book

What people are saying - Reviews

Watch a trailer about the book  here   You tube

Read Sample

Listen audio

View  Video

Buy book

 

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Montgomery's Anton Haardt  with her   book Mose T  From A  to Z: The  Folk Art of  Mose Tolliver  has been awarded  the  prestigious Nautilus Silver Award and New York Book Festival Art/ Photography  Award 

 The Book  is an intimate portrait of unique African-American who saw  fame in his own lifetime after a disaster caused him to pick up a paintbrush. The photographs , the art work,  and  poignant quotes by  Mose  offer powerful images, touching the South¹s natural soul. Anton Haardt lets us see beyond the artist into the personality of a complex man who took defeat and turned it into victory. It is  a  great book  for  fans of  Mose, aficionado's of folk art, curious readers everywhere and libraries daring to blend art school painters with untrained artistic genius.

Interactive Mose T book   available in 2015! *Please see the link:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?

 

v=Rhxzu50aEPM&list=UUmEcNggzIpx_3yP1PMmiIzQ&index=2

 

 

Mose T A to Z: the Folk Art of Mose Tolliver

 

In the winter of 1982, the American art world was jolted by a controversial exhibition held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  The morning after the opening reception, art editors questioned in newspapers across the country, "Is this art?"  

 

This groundbreaking exhibition, Black Folk Art in America:  1930-1980,  brought together for the first time the work of America¹s  greatest living folk art masters. The exhibition¹s organizer, Robert Bishop, even went so far as to declare that the work of one artist in particular was of "equal value" to Picasso¹s, suggesting that "you can hang him beside a Picasso and you have the same creativity and deep personal vision."

 

That artist is the subject of a  book by Montgomery native Anton Haardt, titled,Mose T. from A to Z:  The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver.   Available now, this full-color, 90-page volume is the first book  to be devoted entirely to the life and work of the last surviving artist from the Corcoran exhibition.  In it Ms. Haardt relates the story of Mose Tolliver¹s turn to painting after a crippling accident left him unable to work.  She charts the evolution of his career, from the days when he hung his paintings in a tree in his front yard in Montgomery, Alabama, selling them for a dollar each, through his rise to renown in the folk art world and far beyond. Additional essay contributions from scholars Lee Kogan and Regenia Perry situate Tolliver¹s work within the history of American folk art and discuss the stylistic originality of this visionary American artist.

 

We know you will want to join us in celebrating Mose Tolliver¹s incredible story.  For additional information on Mose Tolliver you may visit the website for the Anton Haardt Gallery in New Orleans at www.antonart.com.

 

Book Review Quotes:

 

"In terms of the art history of our country, I would say in comparing Tolliver's work to Picasso - Mose's art is of equal value - you can hang beside a Picasso and you have the same kind of creativity and deep personal vision."

Robert Bishop, Director of the American Folk Art Museum

 

"Haardt leaves no doubt that Mose Tolliver has made a lasting contribution to the cultural memory of the South"

Jason Berry, Best Selling Author

 

"Locomotives behind artists are as necessary as the art itself, and thanks to Anton Haardt, many of our regional artists have been able to live and even flourish from their craft.”

Nall - Artist, Writer, Director of Nall Foundation

 

 

"Bill and Hillary Clinton gave Ted and I a Mose Tolliver painting as a wedding present. I smile every time I pass it no matter what else my day has brought me. That's art."

Mary Steenburgen,
Academy Award Winning Actress

 

"I must thank Anton Haardt for sharing Mose's story with us. It¹s an excellent story and excellent journal of an amazing artist who will see fame in his own lifetime after a disaster that caused him to pick up a paintbrush ­ and share his inner thoughts with us."

Tyrone V. Banks, Author of "Under the Melting Pot"

 

"Mose T, A to Z is the first book dedicated to Tolliver's work... Haardt's true heart comes through in this book... a worthy investment for fans of Mose, aficionado's of folk art and curious readers everywhere".

Clarence V. Reynolds, "Black Issues" January-February 2005

 

"Haardt gives a brief, yet highly informative, definition on each of Tolliver's whimsical monikers for his paintings. This book should hold a special appeal for those who have come to know and love the old man on Sayre Street, and may capture interest of art enthusiasts worldwide."

Cane Bowden, "Kudzu Review," Montgomery, Alabama August 2004

 

Book Awards

Mose T  A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver has received the following Awards:

A Silver seal in the Nautilus Book Awards 2008. This is a national competition to recognize books that can change the world. . This contest recognizes the contribution of independent presses and self-published books in bringing new ideas to the marketplace, similar to the way that independent filmmakers have reshaped the film industry, according to Ellen Reid, the publisher and book marketing expert who originated the contest. The Silver Nautilus award for Mose T  A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver by Anton Haardt was in the category of Art Genre recognizing  not only the Photography but Font  and Design.. The Nautilus Award is an ongoing national competition in 24 categories celebrating literary contributions to positive social change, spiritual growth, conscious living, wellness, and responsible leadership.

 New York Book Festival  Award, First Place Photography 2008

 

Gold Award and Silver Award Creativity 38 Annual Awards 2008

 

 

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Run Toward the Sun: Remembering Juanita Rogers By Anton Haardt

 

Run Toward The Sun: Remembering Juanita Rogers ia supernatural  Photo Memoir of Juanita Rogers, a black  self- taught artist from the South . This is a story about a  African -American  woman and a young priviliged white woman -both artists . Behind this double biography is a soulful sub-text that acknowledges the force of friendship, and the fears and strengths that shape and change the lives of not only these two women, but all of us. A story of two bold women,  both  who chose not to make safe choices. One is rich and one is poor. Both are from the South, and both are artists. They become friends. Through their  eclectic friendship, each on their personal quest, they  travel through their own  rite of passage and  gain a better understanding of themselves and each other.-----a story woven with a curious thread...and the devil may care duet of this   unusual friendship  is true.

 

 

 

I first met Juanita Rogers more than thirty-five years ago, and became a frequent visitor to her home near  Montgomery.  Over the years I amassed many hours of audio and video-taped interviews with  Juanita Rogers and her rural primitive surroundings, and photographed her and many of her creations.

 The book is filled with Photographs  and quotes  from   Rogers . The book also contains one essay on Juanita Rogers and her work. Folk art scholar,Tom Paterson, has provided an art-historical appraisal of Juanita's sculptures and  paintings.

 Hers is a story of an incessant drive for creative expression amidst poverty, social struggle, and tremendous physical disability.  Anton Haardt

 

SUMMARY

Folk artist Juanita Rogers was an uneducated black woman living in a dilapidated shack outside Montgomery, Alabama. She had a powerful creative talent and mystifying spirit. Juanita´s crumbling sculptures were made of mud, moss and bones: frightening evidence of compulsion. The hauntingfigures were part of Juanita´s stories of magic stones, nuns and graveyard dirt. Much defied logic. I visited her regularly and eventually became her confidant and the mender of her mud creations. I choose not to dismiss her as crazy but instead to explore the mystery of her creative drive. Our challenging climb to friendship continued til her death in 1985.The two of us through our struggles transcended our barriers and together united to preserve and further Juanita's mission. Run Toward the Sun is the celebration of this unique and obstinate artist and my quest to document and elevate her life´s work.


BEGINNING

In the intense heat of summer in Alabama, my life changed abruptly with a ringing telephone.  While painting in my studio, a Social worker called seeking my assistance with self-taught artist Juanita Rogers. Juanita , a dark skinned proud woan, lived in a dilapidated shack and was destitute after the  recent death of her husband. Her porch was filled with haunting clay sculptures: Ram men and Jungle women that resembled the animal-man masks of the Ivory Coast of Africa. Intially   she distrusted my offer of friendship but through regular visits she slowly letting me enters enter her world, view her at work, and document her stories and  memories. We formed a pack: I would help her with financial assistance in exchange for drawings.

 

MIDDLE

I investigated her world and she gingerly unfolded to me her stories of carnival trains nuns her illusory mentor , Stonefish.  Her stories tangled my reality, and much  of what she said contradicted and defied logic. Mr. Stonefish was an enigmatic character and forever absents. Her sculptures were reminiscent of voodoo but she denied any participation  .  The chronicles I made of her life was laddened with trails and our friendship was an uphill climb in which often she would not cooperate. I doubted my job with her and its intrusion on my own life. My home had become a mud hospital and my constant errands for Juanita took time away for my own artmakeing. Then in a strange twist one day she pointblank asked me if I was  Stonefish...Verifying that she had never really believed her own stories. Feeling somehow that I could be her magic man , Mister Stonefish, and that she had trusted me finally   gave me  courage to continue.

 

ENDING

Besides her constant money issues, she had an ongoing health problem that she refused to deal with. She refused medical assistance. Not dealing with her health in  a responsible way eventually causes her health to deteriotrate and finally  she was unable to live in the  rural area  unattended. I reluctantly had to commit her to a hospital against her will or I knew she would die. This betrayal further unleashed doubt or questions as to what I should have done .The responsibility was a burden. Shockingly even though she at first threaten to blow of the heads of the doctors she quickly accepted her change and even seemed  to  enjoy the attention.  Sadly the cancer had spread to all her body. As her condition worsened she let me comfort her and be her caregiver.  Finally she trusted me. An abrupt end was coming and I sadly was losing my good friend. They lowered her casket into the red clay--the dirt that she so loved.

 

REFLECTION 

Juanita and I shared an equal distrust of others ,  but in the end our

Trust for one another `prevailed. Juanita realized I appreciated her and her work. She showed me some of the primal spirit, so often lost today in our modern world.... The rhyme of self freedom Uninterrupted by an overdose of intellect. By breathing life into  her sculptures and sharing them with me she symbolically revived herself and me. Juanita affirmed that through the process of creating one can reassemble reality and conquer fears, dreads, and alienation and find strength in ones self. Art can be more than a pretty picture to look at...also art can be nourishing and more important a powerful charm.

 

 

By way of comparison, Run Toward the Sun: Remembering Juanita Rogers bears thematic similarities to Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez’ non-fiction book The Soloist, in which Lopez, a relatively privileged Los Angeles journalist, befriends and assists a mentally ill man who lives homeless on the Los Angeles streets but turns out to be a  musical prodigy and dropout from New York’s Julliard School of Music. Lopez’ book was recently turned into the popular Hollywood film of the same title, in which his character is played by Robert Downey Jr. and the homeless musician’s character by Jamie Foxx. 

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Wisteria Pentimento:Haardt to Haardt-A Southern  Short Story Anthology

By Anton Haardt  

If Sara Haardt is the Empress of Southern gothic writing, then her niece Anton Haardt is perhaps the princess. The stories perplex, confuse, amaze and make you happy that people can write like this.

  This  book   of Southern fiction  short stories create characters  reveal the mind, heart and skin.The stories  are richly illustrated   in photo-collages,   mostly from  Anton Haardt's    shetches, Photographs , and Paintings.

 

The intricacies of human relationships are the primary theme in this collection of short fiction. Anton , like her Aunt Sarah Haardt's work, combines wonderfully wicked humor and an astute perception of human psychology. Their ear for dialogue is superb and lyrical.This is a remarkable compilation of short fiction.

Anton Haardt’s   creations   proves  that  blood runs thick-  seperated by  a  generation  they both write  from the "Haardt"


"My aunt, Sara Haardt, a Southern expatriate writer who died young of tuberculosis , married H. L. Mencken, the famed Baltimore critic in 1930.Now with a revived interest in her life andwritings, this  Anthology  is in Memory of my aunt  and  includes  a few  of  her southern genre short stories with   illustrations"

 

 

Informal in style, this collection of the two writers work explores how daily life and writing  has been a part of both their lives and a remedy of their love hate relationship with their heritage in the Deep South. Each shared some of the same fears, and experiences. Sara Haardt and Anton Haardt, the last line of the Haardt family, possessed both beauty, brains and ambition. Also, both were lucky enough to be born into families that had the financial wherewithal to provide them with every advantage. They attended the best schools and shared similar social experiences together, even dating the same type of boys. (Both attracted to "the savant")

Anton Haardt  kept   personal  journals   since she was a teenager, filling    countless  cloth- covered   journals with her  writing. Although she is known as an artist and collector of folk art, she also is an accomplished writer. Some of her essays  have been  published in  periodicals such as  England's "Raw Vision Magazine"  and  in books such as Bill Arnetts "Souls Grown Deep:Vernacular Art of the  South". Anton  also fled the south for similar reasons as  did her Aunt Sara, and  as  her  aunt Sara , Anton's stories  share similiar subject and style...only    created  some  50 years later.


This Anthology  of stories by Sara  Haardt and Anton Haardt show an interesting bridge between a  century of  two southern writers. Anton Haardt  has illustrated a few of her  Aunt's stories in this collection. One especially is the short story , "The Rattlesnake Charmer". Written in 1917, this  story won her first acclaim in her writing career with  the Award.  The story takes place in a southern town where the  daughter of a  prominent family takes off with the travelling circus to become a rattlesnake charmer. 

Anton Haardt's stories are  sometimes  based on  real characters  like "The Auction", about  Belzora Kemp Basker , a 94 year old heiress of Selma. Another story, titled-" Miss Bessie",  is a story of a spinster woman in Montgomery who might have been the subject of another famous Montgomery writer's story.  Zelda Fitzgerald, Sara Haardts  good friend, wrote a short story of  a very similar spinster  -titled "Miss Ella", but in rough manuscript  Zelda had  titled the story "Miss Bessie" -

One  character  in a  short story  by  Sara Haardt was  a confederate  war hero,buried in a glass coffin mausoleum.  His beard grew and his finger nails long and curled until one day in 1906 a vagrant broke the glass to steal his solid gold war medal on his chest. He is entombed  in Oakwood Cemetery, a historic Civil War cemetery covered in gnarled oaks and draping magnolias.A similiar story written  by Anton  Haart takes place in the same Oakwood  Cemetery-  about  two heiresses from Froggy Bottom. They search for truth and honesty in a vengent world of wicked weejuns and polo shirted golfers.  To balance their wealth , their heritage , and understand their being,  they return to  the deep south to reclaim what's rightfully theirs.  This epic scenario of 90-year old fathers , blue haired mothers , and neer do wells , they claim what is theirs. .

Quotes on  the Back  Cover 

   "Haardt combines things seen with things imagined.  Patterns from Mexican clothes might emerge later as a decorative border around a turtle.  She offers us languorously flowing forms along with colorful and exotic visions that transport the viewer to a world of exciting escape.” Mitchell Kahan

Mitchell Kahan is visual arts critic, and former executive director of the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio

 

                                                                                   

 

"Her creations read like vignettes and offer portals into the world in which Haardt lives and creates.  While they provoke numerous attempts at serious interpretation they may be seen also as flights of fancy, or collections of cherished objects like a child’s secret treasures, primitive yet sophisticated at the same time." Jim Upchurch  

 

Jim Upchurch  is  past  Editor for  The Montgomery Magazine, Montgomery Alabama

 

 


"It is because Anton understands so well the perspacity of the child in us all that she is able to transcend the passivity of pure form . . . and it is through this marvelous consciousness that she converts by magical symbols her fears and dreads into her own greater magic.  Her pictures are indeed charming but they are also powerful charms.” Thomas Moore

                                                                                               

Thomas Moore is an Artist  and  former Art Professor at Huntingdon College, Montgomery Alabama

 

 

“Haardt’s dark eyes, intense and probing, bore into you making you wonder what’s she’s discovering inside, what secret’s she dredging up. The very molecules around her seem to be in a wild explosion”.Henrietta McGuire


Henrietta McGuire is an Author, Editor/Founder of River Region Magazine and former First Lady Of Costa Rica

 

 

 

“She uses symbols from the primitive side of Latin America and the Caribbean, and their kindred Southern Black Folk Art.  Pattern and decoration is also a reflection of her life—luxuriously decorated with spontaneous patterns of isolation and travel:  isolation from middle-class virtues and freedom from the puppet-like routine it implies.” Nall Hollis

 

Nall Hollis is an  Internationally known Artist , protégé of Salvador Dali, and Head of the NALL Foundation                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

 

"Haardt is  Montgomery’s prodigal daughter, returned home with treasures from afar. She .infuses the tropical sensuality of her life in the jungle of Yelapa, Mexico, with the street fever found in the decadent and subversive city of New Orleans, which she also calls home.   Haardt, both  invites and repels, as in her painting of ”The Snake Charmer”, The hypnotic stare of the snake charmer promises secrets to behold, but she's flanked by two out-turned palms guarding her like sentries and warning  all those who dare to enter.” Nancy Jarzynko

 

Nancy Jarzynko is Costume designer or various Films, such as “The Big Fish”

 

 Let’s Get Lost:Raquachismo:

A Journal of Short Stories

By Anton Haardt

Raquachismo is a slang term from the Spanish

raquero -  to plunder wrecks / /chismero - tale bearing gossip

 

    Let’s Get Lost: Raquachismo: Travel Vignettes is  an intimate journey into the lives of  obscure  people and places , revealing the spirit and soul of a place. It is an anthology  taken from the  past twenty -five years of my journals,  with illustrated drawings and  photographs. Initially I thought I would  have  it printed just  as ordinary text. I finally decided that the two, the story and the  imagery  were inextricably linked. It would have been  ashame not to show the pages with added imagery. I don’t think about these labels much, but it is not  just ‘a short story’. I think  of it  as  ‘a collaged story”..

Anton Haardt

 

"In  Haardt's meanderings and  her observations ,  she is  struck by the irony and the ecstasy of a Oaxcan peasant woman carrying a perfectly iced white wedding cake...on her head; or caught on a crowded zocolo in a Manaus rubber plantation boomtown on market day; or  sensing  the feel of, and the weight and smell of a decapitated pig's head happily being held by a small Honduran boy....A fast and furious flight through the miasmic annals of  Haardt's  cabal is the only way to travel when you're suffering from the been there, done that,  blues.  She is a latchkey writer of the twenty-first century still wondering why nobody is at home, and here begins the still to be continued journey." Xenia Zed

 

   

Xenia Zed is Director of the Hambridge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, Georgia,  Editor in Chief of Art Papers Magazine and Assistant Dean at the Atlanta College of Art,

 

BOOK COVER   QUOTES

“Coming from a root bound Southern family, I took flight.  I was drawn especially to the primal and primitive, Indian tribes, tropical animals and fauna, bringing their jungle into my life and art.  I paint sometimes like a palmist, not knowing what fortune I will find until I look closely.  In my art I play, I contemplate, I learn, balancing order and chaos.”

Anton Haardt

 

 

“Born in 1948 in Montgomery, Ala.,  Anton Haardt studied at Washington University in St.Louis and later at the San Francisco Art Institute, from which she received her BFA degree in 1971.  Haardt’s prints, drawings, collages and assemblages have been exhibited in New Orleans, Montgomery, Key West, as well as Paris and several cities in Mexico.  Resulting from her travels to Central and South America, the Caribbean and North Africa, Haardt combines things seen with things imagined.  Patterns from Mexican clothes might emerge later as a decorative border around a turtle.  She offers us languorously flowing forms along with colorful and exotic visions that transport the viewer to a world of exciting escape.” Mitchell Kahan

 

Mitchell Kahan is visual arts critic, and former executive director of the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio

 

                                                                                   

 

“There is in Haardt’s work a sense of private spectacle and public ritual.  The spectacle is found in the fetish aspects of symbols and signs used in the works; the ritual character is revealed in their repeating patterns and ordered surfaces. Haardt’s work displays a disciplined imagination and technical skill of considerable sophistication creating a personal appeal associated with piqued curiosity.” James R. Nelson

                                                                                   

James R. Nelson is visual arts critic for The Birmingham News, and former executive director of the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

 

 

 

 

“By using kitschy, ordinary elements and presenting them in a sacred shrine-like format, Haardt dares this work to be taken seriously, and seems to call into question what constitutes art, its message, and its elements.  Perhaps Haardt is asking us to reexamine the ordinary elements in our own lives and see what art can be found there.”

Christine Neal

                                                                                   

Christine Neal is  past visual arts critic for At Papers, and Curator of European and American Art at The Museum of Art and Archaeology at The University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri , B.A., Bucknell University; M.A., University of Wisconsin; Ph.D., University of Missouri.

 

 

 

“The drawings, sculpture fabricated from found objects, and shrine-like shadow boxes that utilize innovative reproduction methods, demonstrates Anton Haardt’s range and depth.  The shadow boxes read like vignettes and offer portals into the world in which Haardt lives and creates.  While they provoke numerous attempts at serious interpretation they many be seen also as flights of fancy, collection of cherished objects like a child’s secret treasures. The repetitive motifs used for background or framing behind or around her primitive yet sophisticated paintings, collages, and prints are subordinate to the subjects yet tied to them with artistic unity.” Jim Upchurch  

 

Jim Upchurch  is  past  Editor for  The Montgomery Magazine, Montgomery Alabama

 

 

 

“Anton is the child/conjuror.  Sacks of torn paper, potato-stamp stencils and assorted scraps of cryptic images are her tools from which she plumbs talismatic messages from her own psychic depths.  Anton becomes in her artmaking a kind of magician re-experiencing in each piece the ancient ritual of summoning form out of formlessness, order from chaos.  It is this totemic component of Anton’s work that gives it its electricity and separates it from the kind of superficial quaintness characteristic of most folk-type art.  Her collages in particular are childlike in execution disdaining the facility her years of formal training has given her.  It is because Anton understands so well the perspacity of the child in us all that she is able to transcend the passivity of pure form . . . and it is through this marvelous consciousness that she converts by magical symbols her fears and dreads into her own greater magic.  Her pictures are indeed charming but they are also powerful charms.” Thomas Moore

                                                                                               

Thomas Moore is an Artist  and  former Art Professor at Huntingdon College, Montgomery Alabama

 

 

 

 

“She uses symbols from the primitive side of Latin America and the Caribbean, and their kindred Southern Black Folk Art.  Pattern and decoration is also a reflection of her life—luxuriously decorated with spontaneous patterns of isolation and travel:  isolation from middle-class virtues and freedom from the puppet-like routine it implies.” Nall Hollis

 

Nall Hollis is an  Internationally known Artist , protégé of Salvador Dali, and Head of the NALL Foundation      

 

 

 


 

 

 Santo Negri: The Most Expensive Hotel  

By Anton Haardt

This   novel is a Black Comedy/ Southern Gothic based on  a true story of intrigue.

 

A story of a trio who travel through  the back roads of Mexico and the jungles of South America in the 1970's. On their journey they encounter many Alice in Wonderland absurdities -  culminating in the imprisonment of  one of them in a  100 year old Mexican Prison for drug smuggling. The story can be compared to Kiss of the Spider Woman, with a blend of Rashoman's Kurasawa . The prisoner, with help from friends ,  miraculously escapes through the sewer pipes and all head for the border.

This story  is told   to a "Bag Lady"  named Hurri  on a Greyhound Bus trip, remenescient of the style  of "Fried Green Tomatoes", the  Fannie Flagg story told  to a young girl by an eldererly Nursing  Home patient. Santo  Negri is not just a prison break but the study of a relationship  whereby  a couple is isolated together one by free choice and the other by imprisonment and what transpires in their year together in this strange Latin setting.

  

 The  trio, Jay, Martha and Eve,travel through  the back roads of Mexico and the jungles of South America in the 1970's. On their journey they encounter all sorts  of "out of the box" scenarios that  goes  sour  when  the Mexican Prison chamges their lives .  Eve, leaves  her comfortable  life in the US   and  goes to Mexico to  try  to  rescue him. Instead she ends  up    by her own  volition,  spending the next  year   inside the prison  visiting him.

Jay eventually escapes through the sewer lines where he navigates (ex-Navy pilot) through the darkness by "reading" the shadow angles formed by rare slivers of sunlight filtering into  the   black  sewer. The two women and other friends involved in the jailbreak must all sneak back over the border to the U.S.


The story blends  Kiss of the Spider Woman, with a  little  of Rashoman's Kurasawa Like in Rashoman's Kurasawa  there  are three  different participant accounts of the same incident. Where does truth lie? Why do they create and tell stories? To search for truth or to help forget the pain and suffering that surrounds us? Who tells the story and why? What do they have at stake in their narrative?

This story is  also the study of a relationship  whereby  a couple is isolated together one by free choice and the other by imprisonment.Their relationship  is  all to  sustain them in the long hours that they are “incarcerated” together. Life unfolds   in their year together in this strange Latin setting and the  book  invites you into their world, reminding you how glad you are  that  you  werent really  there,although you feel like you were.


Setting        

 

Early  1970s, a few years after    the time when Timothy Leary was urging American youth to “tune in, turn on, and drop out". I was a   time when much of the youth had  left home and had gone searching, like others of this generation, for utopia, inner freedom, and  “higher consciousness".

 

Santo Negri was   an eerie, ancient decrepit  19th Century French  built prison that housed the great Mexican Revolutionaries such as Zapata and Poncho Villa. Towering  stone  turrets accented the various wings. The sense of a Boris Karloff   castle built by some mad architect  that  now, in the 20th Century, had become a   madhouse.  The prison   stood like the House of Usher, so  dark and  foreboding were its cold, stone veneer and gothic iron bars confining the prisoners inside. It was known by the prisoners as "the most expensive hotel in the world", because of  the mordidas, and  corruption.


 Several vignettes

 

 South America 2 a.m. -The Trio take  a   long foreboding trek into  the deep Ecuadorian  jungle in search for a dysentery treatment by a famous Tribal Shaman   and  shockingly find in the heart of  the deep  jungle electricity which is used only to run one Coca Cola machine . The Shaman an spits fire, becomes intoxicated  by   some   200% Moonshine  Jungle  juice  and scares   the Trio out of their skins. 

 Mexican prison:  Inmates' families can visit almost daily privately in the cells. Strawberries, celery, platform shoes, blue skirts are not allowed in, but heroin, drills, hack saws are readily available.The "king" of one cell block has life-sized portrait of himself in his cell.

 

Eve's  small   living quarters in   the center of   Mexico  City's Zona Rosa, where she  lived alone, scared  and miserable, visiting the Prison daily:

I had a apartment room on the second floor  room on  Calle Hamburg 22 ,a   narrow street lined with older 2 story homes. My room was a  Victorian  bed with a pink headboard in a   ederly German lady's home. Then later I moved to  Boarding house and my small roon had a small twin bed and a bare overhead  dangling  light bulb.My darkend room with  no windows, no view made   my room  even smaller  and my whole life even  dimmer.  I  shared  the small  bath  with  the other tenants, one  was a transvestite guy  who took  fore ever with his shower  plucking his eyebrows ."

 


Characters

 

Jay , a charming, moody and irresponsible is very manipulative and will only accept admirers who highly esteem his intelligence. However, these devotees are not to notice that his problems result from his not too smart impulsive actions. He is masculine, with   dark blonde hair  tied in  a  long  ponytail  and bearded. He’s charismatic, good-looking in a way that sometimes seems only  safe in dark alleys. But then there’s that tattoo, a  faded  black Falcon on his arm and on his thigh a small blue tattoo of a Hummingbird. Charming as he may be he can’t hide that ink, nor what it says about his character: This is a man, half with sensitivity  of a hummingbird,  but the other half  is that  he  may  burn anyone down who stands in his way. Jay is also often a crazed  over the top guy who  often drank long and hard, but at moments his genius  slips through. Jay, fairly predictable as a self-serving figure, is the counterpoint to the other characters. (i.e., Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces and William Hurt in The Big Chill.) 

 

Eve, 26 year old Southern dropout heiress, with a VW bus. Her long    black  hair frames her  tall thin  sinewy frame. Her favorite attire  is a  blend of Paisley skirts and Guatemalan  shawl. A great teller of tales,  honest spirit. She cares deeply, gives  time, humor, friendship, and money if needed .Her demeanor is  eccentric and she  chases around the world to escape the debutante proper life expectations of her  traditional upper class Mississippi  parents. She is heir not only to their money but to their own unconventional lives. She  grew up in the 1960s in a comfortable  household, an attractive and rather gifted  girl who seemed destined to  leave  her comfortable past  and grew restive, started questioning things, ; started to distrust  the conventional life of his parents and the US in general. . She seeks someone who will understand her, someone she can open up to and, finding it in no one  but  Jay,  decides to  go to  the Prison  to help him. . During the many hours she and Jay spend alone in the jail, she wonders  why  she is there.

 Eve is the interesting half of this isolated jail cell relationship between one with absolutely no freedom and the other with freedom of movement but emotional constraints. Jay is the prisoner, but in reality his wants to imprison Eve  and  determine all of  her actions.

 

 Martha , could be any middle-class girl originating  from the 1960s, growing up  in Atlanta Georgia. A gentle soul who raised French lop-eared Rabbits, contrasts with  her unpaid dues to  her membership in the Wicca Order. of Witches, She is petite with  light  brown wavy  hair and youthful  bangs that framed her  innocent round face. She preferred to wear  dresses  long and flowing. She wore flat earth Shoe style  sandals accentuating her small round feet.

Her pale floral blouse with floral appliqués with her cropped lace tank top underneath is the perfect combination that broadcasts "I am a flower child”, but in a gentle, feminine way.  She had graduated  from  Secretary College. Academically did alright: got the  usual A’s and B’s. She yearned for Adventure,  and moved to New York.  During  her  brief but intense incarceration  in the Mexican Prison , her observations and emotions are filtered through her rather uncommon diary of her two weeks inside  the prison of Santo Negri. There, she is able to connect   at least  to   one   thread of  sanity  through the   words   written in her diary for her momentary  salvation .

 

The Plot

 

The   three share  a conviction about adventure and leave for South America. Eve, 26 year old Southern dropout heiress, travels by VW bus with her 32 year old boyfriend (ex- executive) and his 24 year old ex-girlfriend through Latin America.  They traveled thousands of  miles, first to  Mexico  then down the Coast to   Colombia  Ecuador Peru   Bolivia . Martha is the strong traveler  always  knowing where she wants to go  and  experiencing  every moment  , often in  a  self indulged way. Eve is unsure and timid , never being able to make up her mind. For the next  year they melt into the  new culture. Jay, a  often , moody, abandons the women and flies back to the U.S. several times despite his lack of funds.  They all finally  return to the US, but later  Jay decides to coerce Martha  to go  back to  Colombia  to help   Jay smuggle cocaine to pay his debts .


 Both are  arrested and jailed in Mexico. Eve   comes to their rescue and flies there  to help.  She voluntarily  spends  one year and   half   visiting daily  inside the prison  doors. Trying unsuccessfully  to   get his release  Through  this all   three  each had come to a realization that thy  had no ability to frame the solutions to their problems or even how to clearly identify them. Each   determines a way to  deal with  that issue.

To escape reality of the squalor, and the brutality of prison  Jay (often seen as  the “bandit” character)  reverts to drug use to  survive, and  invents ingenious  methods of escape to occupy his time, while  Eve tries to keep her mind on the situation she's in,so  she can tend to   her  new responsibilities ..to  bring  food, money, projects  for Jay to do. During the time they spend together, the two  come to understand one another in a   strange way. The fact that  both   are incarcerated--  Jay locked in a his cell  and Eve  imprisoned willingly is a vital part of the story. A darker, more violent, more threatening version of the classic Odd Couple story.

  Jay  is inescapably caught in a web of his own making.  He may not  be able to  escape his  own  emotional problems, but he is driven to  at least escape from  his current  address. We’ll soon see that Eve  is  incarcerated in her own   way and needs  to escape as well.

Jay and Eve  are  similar  in  an odd way  to  Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui , the cell mates in a South American prison in the story  of Kiss of the Spider Woman.

You’re aching to move

But you’re caught in the web

Of the Spider Woman

In her velvet cape.

You can scream,

But you cannot escape

 

Jay eventually escapes through the sewer lines where he , in genius style ,navigates (ex-Navy pilot) through the darkness by "reading" the shadow angles formed by rare slivers of light.

 

The two women and other friends involved in the jailbreak must all sneak back over the border to the U.S.A. Decades   pass,

and the trio  each go their own  way.

The years changed them, some  for  better and some for worse. Then one day  the girls,now  middle  aged women,

hear that  Jay has killed himself. 

 "Hurri" , the Bag Lady  listens to the   entire  story until  the Greyhound   Bus   reaches  its destination in  San Francisco, (where it all started  so many years ago)  But  she has  her  own opinion of what  really happened.


 


  

 

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 BOOK REVIEWS

1. Vision Seekers

 

Outsider artists such as Sister Gertrude Morgan often come to public attention thanks to their unique -- and sometimes controversial -- relationships with art world insiders.

By Jason Berry

*Excerpt

As Bornenstein  was  drawn  to the passionate visions of Sister Gertrude's work, Anton Haardt felt a magnetic pull to the pink "dinosaur birds" and strange shapings of fruits, animals and human bodies that Mose Tolliver, working on scrap wood, was selling in his yard

"Mose Tolliver used to hang his paintings in a tree outside his home in Montgomery, Ala., pricing them at one or two dollars a piece," writes Anton Haardt in Mose T. From A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver, a forthcoming biography, lushly illustrated, by the woman whose eponymous Magazine Street gallery has perhaps the city's most extensive inventory of high-quality works by black Southern folk artists. The daughter of a wealthy Montgomery real estate agent, Anton Haardt earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and was starting her own career as a painter in 1969 when she saw Tolliver's paintings outside his house. Tolliver had been crippled several years earlier in an accident on the job at a Montgomery furniture store when a crate of marble fell from a fork lift, crushing his left ankle and destroying the muscles and tendons in his legs. Forced to use a wheelchair and crutches, he threw himself into painting "to keep [my] head together," he said later.

Haardt began buying pictures from Tolliver. "Mose didn't have much in his bank account," she says. He would sell paintings to her for $10 each. She would drive to New Orleans and sell them to Russell Gaspardi, who had a gallery in the Quarter, for $20 each. "Gaspardi would sell them for $75 a piece," she says. "I'd give all the money from the sales to Mose, and he would give me two paintings in return."

 

Tolliver's imagination had a vivid erotic streak in his bulbous female figures, which would hardly have endeared him to Sister Gertrude. He also generated a stream of self-portraits -- a man with walking sticks, and heads that resemble animist masks.

  "Mose and I became very close friends," continues Haardt. "I was also doing a lot of traveling back then. I didn't want him to lose anything on my account." Others, including Gaspardi, began making trips to Montgomery to buy art from Mose T at his home.

 

The friendship that blossomed between Anton Haardt, a daughter of Alabama's upper crust, and Mose Tolliver, a black man in a wheel chair barely scraping by, typifies the way in which many self-taught painters found their way into the art market. Haardt kept buying and selling his works as an agent on a non-exclusive basis. "I love Mose. I wanted to help him," she says.

 

In 1982, Haardt arranged for Tolliver to show his works in Washington, D.C., at the prestigious Corcoran Museum of Art's landmark exhibit Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980.

"Before we left Alabama I had made a bet with Mose that if we bought ten of his paintings to Washington, I could sell them for a lot more money than he could ever imagine," she writes. "I aimed to sell them for one hundred dollars each, a lot of money in 1982, and certainly more than their usual selling price. After the opening, I was accompanied to my hotel room by several prominent folk-art collectors who were interested in buying Mose's paintings. Within minutes I had sold all of Mose's pictures and had one thousand dollars cash in my hand. For me, delivering those earnings to Mose was the pinnacle of our trip."

 

Over time, as Haardt bought more paintings from Tolliver, she held on to many of them. "I probably have 400 pieces by Mose," she says. She also purchased dozens of works by Jimmy Lee Sudduth, a rural artist whose figurative paintings, using red-brown Alabama mud, radiate a warm lyricism.

 

Although Haardt has made her home in New Orleans for years now, she makes regular trips back to Alabama to visit Tolliver, now 85, whose health is deteriorating. Tolliver's pieces sell for $500 to $1,500 at Anton Haardt Gallery, though some of his more stylized works go for considerably more.

 The other artist whose work Haardt championed, the late Juanita Rodgers, lived outside of Montgomery in a shack in an open field. For years, Rodgers made sculptures out of mud. Haardt befriended her as well, spending long stretches watching her work and interviewing her about her obsession with mud sculptures. Haardt is completing a book about Rodgers, whose works she has preserved in storage since Rodgers' death.

 

 

Anton Haardt's Essay on Juanita Rodgers appears in the massive 2000 book Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art. At $100 a copy, Souls Grown Deep was the brainchild of William Arnett, a pioneering folk art dealer in Atlanta, and his son Paul Arnett. The Arnetts produced a second volume of Souls Grown Deep in 2001 with financial support from Jane Fonda, who settled in Atlanta after her divorce from CNN founder Ted Turner.

Local gallery owner Anton Haardt's admiration of Mose T's talent led to both a long friendship and working relationship and a forthcoming book of Mose T's works.

Art is a search for all who make things designed for the inner spaces and public exteriors of our lives. The religious imagery Sister Gertrude Morgan made of her mystical illuminations, the flood of faces and figures that Mose Tolliver generated after his leg was destroyed, and the mythical sensibility of small folk and heroic figures in an African-American landscape wrought by Thornton Dial are three chapters in the annals of Southern folk art. Behind these artists are individuals -- Larry Borenstein, Anton Haardt, Bill and Paul Arnett -- who turned the passion of their own discoveries into commerce, advancing careers and creating public figures in the process.

 Jason Berry's essay "New Orleans in the Years of Sister Gertrude Morgan," is included in the catalogue Tools of Her Ministry. 

 

Clarence V. Reynolds, "Black Issues"

 Book  review

 
Self-taught artist Mose Tolliver approached his art if not in a singular fashion, then in a distinct manner from many other artists. After a debilitating accident in the late 1960s confined him to a wheelchair, Tolliver began using house paint, bought on sale, to create images of animals and nature; and he plopped his creations on pieces of plywood and poster board. This exercise of painting was meant to be therapeutic, but it proved to be the catalyst for the true artist within him to come forth. Tolliver then unashamedly displayed his creations in a fashion that was not so unusual in the South--he hung them from trees outside his house in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1981, Tolliver mounted his first one-man exhibit, at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. His stature as a first-class, albeit self-taught, artist had come, and his career has been flying ever since. 
Yet Tolliver once said, "I'm not interested in art. I just want to paint my pictures."

Mose T, A to Z is the first book dedicated to Tolliver's work. Haardt, an artist and gallery owner in New Orleans, befriended Mose and his wife, Willie Mae Tolliver, in the '60s; and Haardt's true heart comes through in the book, as Mose Tolliver's work is carefully laid out with pictures of the artist, his wife and members of their family. Yet it's the commentary from the man himself sprinkled throughout the pages, accompanying the images, that makes the book a worthy investment for fans of Mose.

______________________________

 Midwest Book Review

 

African-American art is as diverse, innovative, and reflective of mind, imagination, and cultural experience as any other form of folk-oriented artistic expression. "Mose T From A to Z" The Folk Art Of Mose Tolliver" by Anton Haardt is the perfect showcase with which to introduce one of the truly talented representatives of this authentic American art genre. When Mose Tolliver was injured on the job, he was able to overcome his disabilities by teaching himself how to paint as a way to pass the time as constructively as possible. After several years of honing his skills as a self-instructed folk artist, his work was discovered by art collectors and critiques, including the best of his creations being displayed in such venues as the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington DC. Artist, photographer, and writer Anton Haardt provides interested readers with an informative biography and an informed commentary to accompany selected preproductions of Tolliver's work, including a 'pictorial essay'. Enhanced with a Timeline, as well as art captions, "Mose T A to Z" is a seminal work that will well serve to introduce a unique African-American artist to an appreciative new audience and should be considered a seminal addition to personal, academic, and community library 20th Century American Art History collections in general, and African-American Artist reference shelves in particular.

 

  KING KUDZU MAGAZINE

  Review written by: Kane Bowden

  Mose T A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver By Anton Haardt

  

   Haardt blissfully recalls her aquaintance with Tolliver and his family and  how, in his early years, Tolliver would hang his works from trees outside  his home for interested passers-by.

   The A-Z section of the book is a perfect introduction for anyone with an interest in Tolliver's work, but has never met the man in person or seen his work first-hand.

  

 The full color guide gives 26 examples of Tolliver’s massive body of works,  along with personal quotes from Tolliver himself providing insight on what inspires him to paint a "Jimma Jamma Girl" or a "Tico Bird".

  

 For us laymans, Haardt gives a brief, yet highly informative, definition on each of Tolliver's whimsical monikers for his paintings. 

This book should hold a special  appeal for those around Montgomery who have come to know and love the old man on Sayre Street, and may capture interest of art enthusiasts worldwide.

 

Book Review Sunday, April 15, 2007

By Denise Turney
 

 

Mose T A to Z:  The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver introduces art lovers and a broad range of eclectic book readers to a natural born, self-taught drawer and painter they may not otherwise meet.  The style the book’s author, a writer, artist and photographer named Anton Haardt, uses to bring Mose T to readers is indicative of Mose T’s creative style itself.  I couldn’t help but to think that Haardt is perfect to write this book.
 

The fact that Haardt is an artist in her own right coupled with the fact that she not only has a strong appreciation for Mose T and his work but also the fact that Haardt knows Mose T and has known him for more than thirty years lends a credence, a validity, to the book that gives the book a down home feel.  This spirit of ease and familiarity is sufficiently balanced with a sharp Art IQ.


 

 
It is rare, though not as frequently as it used to be years ago, for a self-taught artist to have his work, that he once hung in his own front yard for passersby to look at and enjoy and perhaps purchase, placed on display at places like The Smithsonian Institute, The New Orleans Museum of Art, the Museum of Birmingham, Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, American Folk Art Museum in New York and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. 
 

 


Focus and education about the Folk Art world is rich throughout the book’s pages.  I especially enjoyed reading about Mose and Willie Mae, Mose’s wife of fifty years and mother of his twelve children, visit to the Corcoran exhibition in Washington, DC.  Pictures of Mose’s work are dispersed throughout the book as are photos of the artist himself as he goes about his every day life, seemingly unaware of the talent that he holds.  Mose’s artistic IQ is innate; the book celebrates this talent spectacularly. 
 

 


Yet there is another story buried beneath the art in Mose T A to Z:  The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver.  It is the story of the artist himself, not simply the art he created, and the story of the artist’s family.  It is the dance, the love, of a man and a woman who met when they both were children and who went on to share half a century together.   Readers will be inspired by the way Mose T takes up art after a slab of marble falls on his feet at the furniture store where he worked.  Mose T would spend his remaining years, as of the writing of the book, in a wheelchair.  To bring Mose T out of his depression following the accident, a fellow colleague, Raymond McLendon, encouraged Mose T to paint.
 

 


The book clearly illustrates the connectedness of life.  An unforeseen accident led a man, Mose Tolliver, to unlock his artistic talent, a talent that very well may have otherwise remained dormant, a talent that has been shared with and appreciated by countless people, children and adults, around the world.  Mose T did not create to impress.  The book’s author created the book with that same spirit.  Mose T A to Z:  The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver is a book to be enjoyed and treasured now and for years to come - just like Mose Tolliver’s work.
 
 
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW

 

Title: Mose T A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver

Author: Anton Haardt

Publisher: Saturno Press

ISBN: 0975384201

Genre: Nonfiction

 

 

  Little-known artists sometimes receive the recognition they deserve and their names become known to the art world. Such is the case of Mose Tolliver, a talented, self-taught folk artist.

  Injured on a job, he took up painting as a way to productively fill his hours. After several years, Mose was discovered by collectors and his work now hangs in several collections and has been included in many shows by famous galleries like the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, DC.

  The concept largely held by society that uneducated people are simple is disproved by men and women like Mose Tolliver. If opportunity knocks, they prove they have talents that place them in a special category apart from the rest of society.

  Mose didn't care for the trappings that go along with success, he said he wanted only to paint. And so he did. The subjects of his work cover a wide range and change over the years.

  Author Anton Haardt lets us see beyond the artist into the personality of a complex man who took defeat and turned it into victory, an example for all.

  I'm happy to recommend Mose T as an introduction to folk art, a field I know little of, and a starting point for learning about the artists who create that art. Definitely a book worth reading.

 

 

Review by Anne K. Edwards 01/17/07

 

 

The Story Of A Remarkable Man Told Through Art.

 

 Title: Mose T. from A to Z:  The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver

 Author: Anton Haardt

 Publisher: Saturno Press (January 2005)

 Genre:  Art

 ISBN: 0975384209000

 Hardcover: 90 pages

   

 Rating: Highly Recommended.

  

 July 20, 2005

 

          Well over three decades ago, Mose Tolliver was injured on the job as a load of marble fell on his legs ­ crushing them.  To ³clear his head², Mose began to paint a variety of subjects with the hopes of selling his works for a few

 dollars or trading them for food.  One may call that the end, but this hobby became the beginning of so much more.

  

 Anton Haardt, an artist, photographer and author ­ as well as an inspiration too many in and out of the art world ­ forged a friendship with MoseTolliver.  To help him out she began to show his art to larger galleries.  She would try to sell his art work for twenty-five dollars or more as opposed to the one or two dollars that he would normally accept. 

In 1982,his work was displayed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  At the Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980 Exhibition.  Critics questioned if his art was actually Art...due to the fact that it was so different. 

 Regardless of the initial reaction by the Art World, his work soon developed a market and the demand and value of his work increased.  His unconventional style stretched the boundaries of folk art at that time, but  soon after and today, his work is respected and purchased by people from all walks of life. Today, he is the last surviving artist from the Corcoran

 Exhibition.

  Quote by Mose Tolliver:

”I just think of something I want to paint and I¹ll try it and I¹ll keep

 working until it looks all right to me, then if someone buys it ­ it must be

 all right.”

  

          The world has spoken and his work exceeds "all right."  His use of unconventional media such as house paint on wood eliminates the option of hiding bad art under exciting and expensive materials.  His artwork is true and pure and sought after by a diverse audience.  Who pay what some would pay for works by more famous artists.  He used to sell paintings for a few

 dollars, but now that has escalated to thousands of dollars.  He is a true inspiration to budding artists, causing them to persevere and never give up the part of their own  selves  that they paint ­ regardless of the critics!

  

 Anton Haardt does an excellent job of explaining in her book the ideas behind Mose¹s work in his own words.  Each painting means something to him and he tries to paint that thought or idea in its purest form.  Some of his paintings are done in rich earth tones, causing the subject matter to outweigh the media.  Other works have some sexual overtones ­ but it is

handled with charisma and not overdone.  He draws inspiration from family members or children playing outside.  His paintings have unique titles such as French Magnolia Lily, Hatching Bird House and Jimma Jamma Girl (use your

 imagination)! These unique paintings have unique stories and that is a part of the reason for their acceptance and appeal. A lot of his works are various self portraits as he draws from himself for inspiration ­ either way, when you see a ³MoseT² with the signature reverse "S" applied, you know that it was either painted by him ­ or signed by him.

 

 Pick up a copy of MoseT A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver today and discover the work of a true artist who¹s transition from obscurity to fame has been documented by his friend of 35 years.  I must thank Anton Haardt for sharing Mose¹s story with us.  It¹s an excellent story and excellent journal of an amazing artist who will see fame in his own lifetime after a disaster that caused him to pick up a paintbrush ­ and share his inner thoughts with us.

    

 Tyrone V. Banks

 

 

Mose T, A to Z: The Folk Art

of Mose Tolliver, by Anton Haardt

Saturno Press, 2006

 

Whether you refer to him as a self-taught artist or a folk artist, Mose Tolliver is a legend and an inspiration. Disabled when a crate of marble fell on his feet and legs, Tolliver turned to art in order to keep his head together. But not everyone who practices art therapeutically gains the recognition that Tolliver achieved.

 

So how did Mose T, as he was known, transform from a gardener/housepainter/shipping employee into an internationally known and respected folk artist? The answer to this question can be found in Anton Haardt¹s book Mose T, A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver.

 

Haardt and Tolliver could not be more different. As the Foreword notes, Haardt was an ³accomplished young woman from a socially prominent Alabama family² while Tolliver was a ³middle-aged, partially disabled African American painter.² But, they were both artists in Montgomery Alabama. Haardt was drawn to Tolliver¹s pictures ­ with fantastical titles like Jimma Jamma Girl and X-Ray Dry Bones Charlie ­ which were often displayed in his front yard. Neighbors and artists would often pay him one or two dollars per picture.

 

In this collection of anecdotes and quotes from Tolliver¹s life, alongside an abecedarian compendium of some of his art, Haardt has given the world an opportunity to know Tolliver the way she did. Haardt even includes a timeline of important dates and exhibitions throughout Tolliver¹s career.

 

Mose Tolliver died October 31, 2006. He was in his 80s. Haardt¹s book is a must-read for art lovers, as well as for those who think art is only for the wealthy. Most T showed us all there is art in doing what you love and loving what you do.

74 pp.

 

Bernadette Geyer, editor

berniE-zine: Book Reviews & More

http://rantsravesreviews.homestead.com

 

This is Haardt¹s first book.

Illustrated by Mose Tolliver

 

 

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