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Mar 26, 2016 - Mar 27, 2016
Snap Wyatt (American, 1905-1984) Banner: 104" x 360"(264 x 914 cm), "World's Strangest Girls!", 1960's, paint on canvas. An outstanding and extremely large Sideshow Gaff Banner (the central, wide horizontal banner that anchors the stage) produced for promoter Dick Best, who in the early/mid 60's toured an all girl show with "born" and "working" (tattooed, fire eaters, sword swallowers, metamorphosis illusions) acts. Dick Best provided shows to both the Royal American and Chicago's Riverview amusement park during this period. In contrast to Fred Johnson's pastoral/painterly banners, Wyatt's banners have simpler backgrounds and exaggerated Coney Island style black outlines, giving them a pop art comic book quality that is believed to have influenced some early Chicago Imagists, many of whom saw them at the Riverview. In addition to generic acts, "World's Strangest Girls" features a Frog Girl, an Alligator Lady, a dancing midget and the Tattooed Lady Betty Broadbent. The central figure with sprouting plant appendages went by the name Bipty/Beepy; she had smallish calcium concretions which were greatly exaggerated in the painting. Literature: featured on pages 113-114, Freaks, Geeks & Strange Girls: Sideshow Banners of the Great American Midway; Hardy Marks Publications, 1994. Exhibition: The Big Day Out Art and Music Festival, Sydney and Melbourne, 1997; The Human Hammer Meets the Two-Headed Woman: Banner Paintings from the Great Midway, Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, 1998.
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