He Wrapped Landmarks in Fabric. Years Later, His Art Turned Up in a Dumpster. – The New York Times

May 3, 2022 by No Comments

The gauze-wrapped building towered over the East Village like a bandaged wound. It was May 1979 and the artist, Francis Hines, had covered an abandoned five-story tenement with 3,500 yards of white fabric, loosely sealing inside the littered drug needles and crumbled walls.

At the time, a friend of Mr. Hines said, the soft, billowing installation brought “life, beauty and possibility” to the East Village, then an emblem of civic neglect.

Mr. Hines earned a pinch of critical acclaim for wrapping this and other New York City structures, including the Washington Arch, in fabric, before he disappeared from the art world. He died in 2016 at 96.

His work was rediscovered a year later by Jared Whipple, a Connecticut man who found hundreds of Mr. Hines’s paintings in a dumpster and who has since made it his mission to get Mr. Hines the attention he thinks the artist deserves.

In the past five years, Mr. Whipple, 40, has pored over Mr. Hines’s journals, corresponded with the artist’s friends and relatives and dug up archival footage. His work as a self-taught Hines scholar will reach a milestone this week when some of the paintings found in the dumpster are exhibited for sale.

The solo exhibition opens Thursday at the Hollis Taggart gallery in Southport, Conn., and will be accompanied by a smaller presentation in New York City.

Mr. Hines’s escape from obscurity began in September 2017, when Mr. Whipple was invited to a rundown barn by a friend who had been hired to clear it out and knew Mr. Whipple liked to salvage discarded material.

In a dumpster outside he found neat stacks of hundreds of canvases wrapped in heavy plastic and assumed it was the work of a hobbyist.

“As we started opening them up, that’s when we realized there might be something more to it,” Mr. Whipple said.

Mr. Whipple, a mechanic who also does building maintenance for churches, said he was drawn to the brightly colored depictions of smashed cars and car parts. He decided to haul the collection to his warehouse, where he spent more than a decade building an indoor skateboarding park.

Mr. Whipple learned the identity of the artist after finding one of the paintings signed with his full name, Francis Mattson Hines. An online search led Mr. Whipple to a book that Mr. Hines’s wife, Sondra Hines, self-published about her husband’s most recognized work: the Washington Arch installation. In 1980, he used 8,000 yards of white polyester to wrap the arch as part of a fund-raising campaign by New York University to restore the monument.

In a video that Mr. Whipple provided, a former New York Times arts reporter and critic, Grace Glueck, praised the installation.

“Well I think it’s very handsome and as I’ve said to you before, anything that covers up Washington Square Arch, which I’ve always thought was spectacularly ugly, I find attractive,” Ms. Glueck said.

Mr. Hines, who worked as a commercial illustrator, continued to sculpt, paint and sketch after the …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/03/arts/francis-hines-found-art-connecticut.html


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *