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FROM RAGS TO RENOWN: John Outterbridge and the Art of Assemblage

The International Review of African American Art Plus | By Mark Richard Ross | October 25, 2012

Hambone, hambone, where you been? Round the world and back again. The extensive resourcefulness of traditional, southern African American culture is expressed in this pithy ditty. Poor folks downhome passed a hambone from house to house to house to season each pot until the flavor was totally cooked out of the bone. Not only was nothing wasted in this culture, unusual creative expressions grew out of it -- whirligigs, bottle trees and crazy quilts that looked liked modern, abstract art. One of the great heirs of this culture is the Greenville, N.C.-born John Outterbridge, the son of a junk man, who transforms rags and scraps into marvelously eccentric assemblages.

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