Thai Varick ( 1941 - 2001? ) was an American original whose roots reach back into 18th C New York City when his fifth great grandfather founded the A.M. E. Zion Church - Thai's given name is Louis Gladding Varick V. A colorful character who chose a life on the streets of New York where he sold his sculptures directly to the public while chatting with them. He was a fixture on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for years, often sitting in front of Zabar's to create, show, and sell his work. And while he was courted by several galleries, his lifestyle and intermittent drug habit always drove him back to the streets. Thai was often told his work reminded people of Alexander Calder, but he simply saw Calder as his "predecessor," nothing more. There is a short documentary about him where he speaks briefly about his art - "…my art speaks for itself, it advocates freedom, it doesn't block the eye, you can see clear through it, put it up to your face, so freedom… is one of my desires, not only for myself, but for every man." Thai died shortly after the New York Times did a profile of him in 2000, entitled "On the Fringe, with a Gift."
Like nearly all Thai's sculptures, this bull is made from one long piece of steel wire, malleable in his hands and with his tools, but quite stiff, easily retaining its shape over time. And like nearly all Thai's sculptures, one end of the wire (I'm not sure if it's the beginning or the end) forms a small floating heart within the form… it's difficult to see in the photographs because of their graphic nature, but becomes apparent when you experience the piece in hand.
Condition is grand with light overall oxidation. Measures approximately 21" from tip of horn to tail, and stands about 13" tall.
Thai Varick's work is now recognized as great American Folk Art, listed in the art databases, avidly collected, and rapidly appreciating. Here's your chance. Enjoy!
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