“Alfred” – Mr. Imagination’s second mule on display at Zoellner

We share this press release from our colleagues at the Lehigh University Art Galleries:

CONTACT: Lehigh University Art Galleries/Museum Operation
420 E. Packer Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18015

A memorial tribute to Gregory Warmack, the internationally known artist who called himself Mr. Imagination, is on display in the lobby of Lehigh University’s Zoellner Art Center Main Gallery, 420 East Packer Avenue, Bethlehem. Warmack, age 64, died on May 20, 2012 in Atlanta, GA.

“Alfred the Mountain Mule,” 2003, is considered to be one of Mr. Imagination’s great “masterworks.” A tour de force of creative recycling, this extraordinary sculpture consists entirely of thousands of buttons and bottle caps, aluminum foil and found objects on a fiberglass mule form, and sits majestically at the entrance to the gallery. The piece is available to the public at any time during the Zoellner Arts Center summer hours, Monday-Friday; 9am-5pm.

Originally commissioned for Lehigh by Professor Ricardo Viera, LUAG Director/Curator, the mule has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Museum, Washington, DC and at the GoggleWorks in Reading, PA.

Warmack has been described as a visionary folk or “outsider” artist. Growing up and working in Chicago for many years, he lived in Bethlehem close to Lehigh University from 2001 to 2008 and created hundreds of installations and constructions of found objects, notably at the Banana Factory, at Home and Planet, Material Culture in Philadelphia, and at his Millennium Arch on Lehigh’s Mountaintop campus.
His unique art was exhibited in many group and solo shows at galleries and museums in the United States and Europe, some of the most significant being his show at Lehigh in 2000-2001 and several shows at the Banana Factory and Reading’s GoggleWorks.

His work also is found in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution, at the House of Blues in Orlando, at The National Botanical Gardens and Reagan International Airport, Washington, DC., at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, Intuit in Chicago, at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the American Visionary Art Museum in
Baltimore. While living and working in Bethlehem, Warmack, or Mr. I as he was fondly known, was a friend and inspiration for many Lehigh students and people throughout the Lehigh Valley.

A ceremonial “Procession of Remembrance for Mr. Imagination” is now being planned for Friday, July 6, 2012 as part of the July First Friday events. Please stay tuned for details.

Read more about Mr. Imagination’s residencies at Lehigh University in this previous post.