In the 1950's, Calvin and Ruby Black began making figurative sculptures in an attempt to help lure customers to their shop where they sold uniquely shaped rocks, ore and semi-precious stones. They created their sculptures out of jointed redwoods, which Calvin carved and painted, and for which Ruby sewed the clothing. Drawing on Calvin's previous experience as a ventriloquist and carnival worker, the Blacks created a fanciful environment, indoors and outside, full of sculptures, painted signs and toy-like works. The sculptures were often wired for sound and many of them were displayed on wind-driven merry go-rounds. Although their rock shop never prospered, their environment became a popular tourist attraction where they lived in the Mojave Desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The sculptures are quite rare, with approximately 60-80 works extant, some of which are included in the collections of the Newark Museum and the Museum of American Folk Art in New York.
PROPERTY FROM THE ROBERT M. GREENBERG COLLECTION
Untitled: Possum Trot Figure