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David McManaway‘s Estate Sale
in East Dallas December 4-6, 2015
New links to McManaway online and on DallasArtsRevue added.
THE FIRST DAY
Duck, Bird and Two Artists: Norma and David McManaway.
Original photographer dated it 1994, but did not sign it.
I photographed these objects, with permission of Sale Executor Steve Farr the hour before the estate sale opened Friday, December 4. I have no idea which of all these pieces sold, but the sale continued through Sunday December 6, which was quite busy with many looking for — and finding — bargains.
Bargains were promised after 1 pm, Sunday — apparently half off everything — although my information indicated the sale opened each day at 10 AM. There was a line when we got there again Sunday after one PM, and I had hoped for one more clown but instead bought two small snakes, which were only a couple bucks. My opening day and closing day photos are still fairly chronologically ordered with my last-day photos mostly starting about here well down this page.
Angel & Devil Push-Me Pull-Me
When I returned Saturday I'd forgot the memory card, so these are all from Friday before the sale started, when I was allowed to roam free and photograph anything I wanted upstairs and downstairs throughout the house. So these show McManaway's taste, of course, but also mine of his.
Skeleton Guitarist with Crosses and a Frog
When David McManaway died in 2010, DallasArtsRevue published an obituary written by his friend Don Mangus, who used to draw Art Man Comix for DallasArtsRevue when it was published in ink on paper way back in the 20th Century.
Prices were moderate to low. I heard Saturday that careful art hunters Friday found small paintings by Roger Winter and other notable local artists. I never thought to look for treasures like that, but I'm sure I saw those painting. I don't remember them, because I wasn't enthralled. I've only attended maybe four estate sales in the last 30 years, but this has been an advanced placement opportunity — more than just photo.
Cat Carrying Kitten
I only bought two items Friday. The rug for $15 and a tiny JOMO-esque skeleton for $10 that, like most of the stuff on the walls in David's extended upstairs studio, might have found way into one of his extended JOMO (kinda like mojo) art objects, if he'd lived longer. I got more Saturday, and I was back Sunday. I likeed following this thing to its conclusion.
circle blade sculpture
This piece was still there when I went back Saturday. If it had been signed, it would have cost more, but not knowing who did it, makes it confusing. I'm pretty sure David did not make it. It's far more likely that he just found it somewhere or someone who knew his tastes found it for him. It might have been a gift. I think it sold late Saturday afternoon. One friend called this "farm art," meaning the sort of thing you could probably still buy along roads in rural America. It might be worth $30.
Man Leaning on Cane
Many of the pieces on walls were as McManaway left them while he considered and reconsidered what went with what, and what did not. Executor Steve Farr told me he and the crew who put this sale together added some pieces to McManaway's wall collages, but all the pieces were McManaway's. The crew probably wanted everything visible, regardless of what McManaway might have considered aesthetic.
This little sculpture reminds me of Daumier, though I'm not sure why, but I couldn't find anything close in All the Works by Honoré Daumier. Maybe because it's a little cartoonish with obvious but roughed-in details.
Pigs On A Folded Blanket
I bought this for $15. It's a decent blanket, with pigs, cows, flowers, sheep, ducks and a picket fence, positive on one side and color reverse on the other. I was initially enchanted by the notion of "pigs in a blanket," then I touched its softness and enjoyed its colors. I might park it on my spare bed, where it won't be used much, but will really light up that room.
I could — maybe even should — have bought many other pieces. Now I've had time to study them, I see more than I would love to have, though probably not enough to pay for them — at least partially, because no one knows who created them.. These are generally not works McManaway created, just more junk he accumulated for potential use in JOMO and other artworks. Many were probably gifts to him.
Painting Signed "J.H. '76"
It's one of those things I have blinders for when I'm looking for interesting objects to photograph. I often miss art I like that I could afford and that I could even fit onto my walls. Photographing and treasure-hunting seem to be mutually exclusive thought modes. I like this more every time I see it. And I think I am getting the colors in this photo closer to reality, but they've been obstinate.
Fly In His Eye Mickey
I was careful to get these in as close to their real colors as I could, but my first version of J.H.'s landscape (just above) was badly ungreened. Mickey's white coat made it easier, because I can push a couple of buttons and my little, elderly and blue-painters-taped together camera will adjust the color to normal. Especially the rooms with windows — most of them — were awash in wildly divergent daylight and artificial colors.
One of Several Black Dolls
My friend, fellow photographer and SMU Associate Professor of Photography Debora Hunter emailed me about it late in the week before the weekend sale. It took me about 24 hours to realize what a great photo opportunity it might be. So I asked her, and she told me whom to contact about getting permission. Thanks, Debora, Julie Maynard and Steve Farr.
This is one of at least three Black dolls, probably from when they weren't mass produced, and Black people made their own. It's a politically intriguing sub-genre, but I didn't really want one, just liked to think about and photograph them.
Gator in a Box
I'd been looking for something to photograph besides birds, and when I pitched the idea to the McManaway Estate sale people (Out of the Attic, who apparently has no online presence) especially including Julie Maynard, then Steve Farr, I told them that, "In a way, I see photo-essaying estate sales as a last glimpse into the real life of a human being." I hadn't thought of that before, but I still like the concept. It's especially interesting to see almost-art by a once-prolific and somewhat famous artist who is no longer living.
My one other estate-sale story was about the late Dallas art teacher and painter Ann Cushing-Gantz in June, 2013.
Grotesque Black Dragon
These photo captions are my own. I have no idea what McManaway may have called his eventual pieces, if he'd ever finish what these might have gone into. Nor do I always know where one ends and another begins, although this one seems fairly obvious.
In trying to get permission to photograph this estate I told Maynard that "Last time I wrote about an artist's estate sale, I got there an hour ahead, while the line of buyers grew across the front yard; I scooted through the house pretty quickly taking pix of anything that struck my fancy [my SOP]; and I was out of the neighborhood by the time the doors opened to the public — although I might be more tempted by something of David's, but I wouldn't mind waiting in line for that."
I didn't tell her that I had much less appreciation for the work by that much-loved Dallas artist and teacher, because I didn't want the sellers to think I dissed all those whose estate sales were essentially their last art shows.
Luckily, the the first-day line was short, and I had my pick. My tastes are unique enough, I generally do. So it's always been odd to me that I became (and still am) the Dallas art critic who has been writing about area art the longest — since the 1962 at the University of Dallas..
Elephant Eating Dog
Everywhere I looked I found more instances of David McManaway's humor, even though most of the people who told me they'd known him, called him a curmudgeon or manic-depressive. I've been called curmudgeon enough to own and believe it, although both David and I would subscribe to a wider definition than just "bad-tempered or surly." And I suspect David and I would have been kindred curmudgeons, though it hardly guarantees we'd be friendly.
Black Doll Symphony in Brown
Some of the wall collages were goofy or funny. Others were poignant. Most were at least visually interesting or lovely. A few were exquisite. Someone had tipped this doll's head forward by my Saturday visit, and we could no longer see her face.
Flower Palm Finger People Glove
This gloved hand was already a handsome three-dimensional collage of its own.
Remember that these pieces were just that — only pieces for possible later assemblages. But there were scads of them. More than any artist could ever assemble into artworks. So their future, even when David was still alive, were unlikely. But it was the artist who put these potential pieces together on the walls of his studio. So that counts for something, even if most were sold by the piece.
I don't know to whom it was advertised to, but I saw only a few artists and even fewer gallerists, and I often wondered why it wasn't more widely advertised — or more narrowly to the local art community. I several times toyed with the notion that these photographs may have been David's last chance to have his largest collages seen by people who are interested in his art.
I just made up these captions, except there are words in this view stating "Lizard Jaw," which is a fairly common procedure to name artworks.
Not Cookie-cutter Art
I may rewrite and/or re-order these captions, but by the sale's second day, my mind was empty, so just piled them down the page under each photo I liked enough to work up. Just before or just after photographing this little tableau, I pushed the bottom button on the purple-hatted white skeletal clown several times, and it collapsed, then stood back up with its arms outstretched each time.
But I never once thought, "Oh, here's a nice little clown I should add to my collection." Mostly because at that point, I did not yet have a clown collection, and I'm not yet willing to admit that it's ongoing. I probably have enough clowns in my life already.
Jack and The Boys
Jack was still there Saturday, but a lot of once-replete tables had been all but cleared. Executor Steve Farr told me that "many treasures" were found in the stacks of wood in one of the upstairs studio rooms. On my three, daily visits I usually went upstairs first, because that was where David gathered his emphermera and made his art. Norma's ceramics studio was in the back left of the first floor. But there was art or almost-art everywhere.
Mona and The Snakes
Mona was still there Saturday, but the snake and most of the stuff around her was gone.
Nearly a Whole JOMO Wall Upstairs
I would have liked to see a whole, potential JOMO wall in a museum somewhere. Not, of course, the Dallas Museum of Art, which, though it was founded specifically to show Dallas artists, hardly ever does, and it would take a much more open mind to do something like this. Although I should note that long after David McManaway died, the DMA bought its first JOMO painting.
Here Lies Pepper
A cowrie shell wrestler and a plastic octopus headstone. Poor Pepper.
Like so many other disparate pieces scattered around this house, there's no telling what these two items have in common that David noticed and needed to save.
Minnie and The Castle
The Castle Castle box resembles the internal parts of a camera, and who else to star in a movie than Minnie Mouse, even if she's blue now.
An Old Bottle, Sister Cactus, The Easter
Bunny and a Candle-headed White Woman
This is the shelf below the last photo.
Having long ago attached paper to an art chair myself, I was interested in the technique for this one, although I didn't learn much. That earlier application of printed photographs to a chair all peeled badly and flaked off. I like little chairs for working closer to the ground, but I wasn't sure this one would support me, although I probably could have tried it. I like the sentiment attached to the top of the back.
Nixon and the Tiger
The skeleton just left of whom I assume is Nixon's grimacing face — although I guess it could be Jimmy Hoffa — is the other object I bought at the Estate sale on Saturday. It cost $10, and it reminds me of David's JOMO art pieces. The skeleton is playing a guitar, and if its strings are pulled correctly, it looks like it, but the instrument has no strings.
My first thought was that this was a Jack-boot Kermit, except, of course, he doesn't have any footwear, and he was lying down on a nearby table when I revisited Saturday. A lot of things moved around from day to day as the collection thinned.
Box of Rats
I have a plastic and/or rubber rat I hang from protrusions around my house, so I identify with keeping them. Revulsion is a perfectly good emotion to be evoked by art. Only a couple of the white rats were left by Sunday. I guess people don't identify much with lab-rat white.
Plain, simple, red heart with multiple stains and splats. The word patina comes slowly to my mind.
Saint Michael the Archangel and the Devil
Not Saint George, as I first assumed; it's Saint Michael the Archangel, and it's not a dragon, it's the devil himself. Here is a larger but less colorful image of the same thing (for sale, of course, online).
Saint George's Context
The really nice poster lion was gone by Saturday.
Rooster, Banana Scepter and a Fish
At first I liked the feathery thing at left, but now I've begun to appreciate the many-pinned Banana Scepter.
Dragon and Little Girl
They wanted $95 for the dragon, and I used to collect them — and this was a nice one. I also used to collect turtles, with whom I more identified because I sometimes still car camp (and had a camper on a small truck called Tortuga, The White Rhino) when I traveled, and I don't know the little girl gathering flowers, but it seemed a mildly interesting counterpoint. But I think I already have way too much junk in my life, and more will not really make me much happier, which has been a hard lesson, and kinda late in my game, so I'm better off photographing things that owning them. I'm sure I have millions of photographs, either film or digital.
The cop's arms have become disconnected, and he's not even looking at Betty Boop while the skeleton heads for the trees.
Snakes on Wood Grain
I didn't see these guys Saturday, but by then I'd acquired an appreciation for them.
Small Clown 8.38 x 6.5 inches "bean bag" filled sateen
I bought this fine little Pierrot for, I think, three dollars. I had grown fond of it from looking at this photograph. He looks so happy among all that darkness. I need to find out what material he's made of, so I can clean it. It's close to filthy, with lots of dirt that looks like rubbed in and several gaping holes I could possibly drain its sand-like innards through, but that sounds like an awful lot of work, when he's just as happy sogging against anything vertical.
David McManaway Duck-head, Clown and Jesus 32.5 x 18 inches
And this sad, duck-head clown cost me $95. After trying several configurations, I've got him back on his old ratty-looking box, which I've raised with a nice newish wood-grain box Alex gave me. The bottoms of his slippers had been glued to the old slat box, but they came unglued when I'd propped him up against my car to open the hatch, and he slumped back to the ground.
Not at all sure what the Sacred Heart of Jesus has to do with this balding duck-hatted clown, but I keep thinking of David when I see him, although I don't think we'd ever met. You can't see the barely visible glitter in this photo, but someone outlined much of Jesus' body with it.
I suspect there's a lot of irony going on here, but the brightly-colored and fuzzy little duck looks happy to be just where it is.
The Jesus pic wasn't glued to anything like the droop-eyed monster that holds it up, but the gray, snaggletoothed, eye-drooping monster is still firmly attached to this box, and I still have the crooked staff David leaned onto the clown, who always seems to be looking slightly down, perhaps a little shy or wan.
Table of Boxes
Boxes — most without tops, although there were some tops without boxes — were mostly a couple bucks each. I love cigar boxes, and some of these were those, but I prefer closable boxes, so I did without yet another treasure. Garage and estate sales can be dangerous places for some of us.
Bottle Fish and the Cat
By the next day, the bottle fish had swum to another table, leaving only the cat, who stood alone. Then it also disappeared. Nice cat for twenty bucks and even nicer for ten.
The metal flamingo had gone by the next day. The plastic one's probably still there. Unlike all the clutter upstairs, these were objects the McManaways probably saw every day. It's stuff they lived with.
Mr. Peanut & Friends
I found a less detailed Mr. Peanut lying face-up on a table on Saturday, but I didn't see this one again.
Now this is something I really should have paid more than photo attention to. I liked it, so instead of buying it, I made a photograph. And I know just where I would have hung it, but I suspect that if I were just a little ingenious, I might make my own. Someday.
Bun Sculpture in the Dining Room Window
Price is $285. It is firmly attributed to David McManaway, so priced accordingly, and if it had gone the way David expected, it would have been one box among a stack of them. I wonder what might have been in those other boxes.
JOMO Bozo on the Top Shelf
Turned out this was a gift from a friend. I got it thinking it had been labeled "JOMO" by David, but it wasn't. But it was cheap enough I just kept it. I like it more every time I look at it, though it is slowly losing air, and the air-inlet is too tight for my fingers, but not for my teeth, and I wondered whose air I was sharing. In all capital letters on the back, the gifter has wide-felt-tip marked "Happy Birthday David."
Getting air to stay in it is a trick I have yet to master, but most of that worry is trying to get it fully inflated. If I can just accept that it cannot be full of that stuff that's all around us most of our time, it's a great, though slightly saggy entity. The colors are vivid.
Live to Ride
Betty Boop is just too cute.
Dark shapes unlike any others in the sale, dark and scraggly.
Rabbit and Swatter
The Swatter has a heart-shaped hole in it to save the flies of the world. Many of these items were gone by the second day.
Sidewalk Line Just About at Opening Time Friday
I missed the line — if any — on the second day, but there were many fewer items scattered through the house. Only 26 people lined up out front when I finished photographing the contents on opening time Friday, after I'd spent my hour photographing this sale's treasures.
Loading Up the Rooster
I didn't think to photograph anybody else loading their stuff and, often as not, coming back for more.
THE LAST DAY OF THE SALE
Green Glass Corvette and Some Clowns
I wanted — but hardly needed — one more clown, but a small one, because I was already struggling for places to put the larger ones I'd already acquired. But I was in photographer mode when I shot this, which I don't even remember doing. I never knew or cared what the dark spectre on the right might be. I'd seen the guitar-playing Death Clown on the left before, but Emmett Kelley, whom I had seen in Saint Louis when I was a kid and he was in his glory days, would have been just the thing for my burgeoning clown collection. But at least I got this picture when I was too busy seeing to look.
Studying a Watercolor Downstairs
Next time I attend an estate sale, I have to decide beforehand whether I'll go in photographer mode or serious looking mode. If it's an artist's estate, I might be better off leaving the camera at home, but this story was still growing when I shot these on the last day of the sale.
People Looking in the Big Room Upstairs
I didn't count them, but there was a line of people off the porch and down the sidewalk toward the street when we went back on Sunday afternoon.
Entering and Leaving with Prizes
Nice little work table with one drawer. I never thought about getting the furniture that held all those potential objets d'art.
Anna with her Dancing Chicken at Checkout
Anna found and has acquired this elegant Dancing Chicken with his super-long chicken legs. He is beautiful, and way funnier than most clowns. But if I'd seen him with my camera and not my eyes, I probably would just have photographed it. Then later, when I was working up that day's photos, I might have wished I'd bought it. As it was, I'm glad Anna got it instead. But he's a noticeably large bird and mighty handsome a critter — and he's easy to dance with.
Bozo JOMO out of a Box
JOMO is David McManaway's word for … Well, I'm not exactly sure. It is, I believe, no coincident that mojo is spelled similarly, with just the one slide-over of half its letters. David made a reputation building and dispensing JOMO Boards, which were complicated little collections of objects and/or paint. This inflatable clown is no longer in that box, which is a part of another sculpture (by James Michael Starr) that I love, but I liked this photo better than the other ones I've made of it so far.
The Duck-hatted Clown is now in my collection
I know this piece [links to my original photo of him in situ at David's studio above] better than any other in the three-day sale. I liked clowns early in my childhood but later grew to fear them. Because of that, I quit going to circuses till about fifteen years ago, and then there was only that one. But I like the idea of clowns, and I believe that many politicians on all sides are really just a bunch of them. But then so are followers of many other vocational tracks.
Lately, more and more, I have identified strongly with clowns, and wish I'd learned pratfalls earlier, and that I could fit into a tiny self-powered vehicle with twenty or thirty other clowns. And that one-size fits all outfit is to die for.
I fell for this one from my picture of it on the first day of the sale. It cost $95, complete with the nasty slatted box and that stick that the clown just had handy, but not in his hand. He does have hands, one down each sleeve, but the sleeves are longer than his arms, so we can only barely see the tips of his fingers in this, my first serious photo attempt.
Standing and looking down on him in David's upstairs studio gave me the impression the clown's head was down and he was sad. But looking even or slightly up at him reveals a happy-enough smile. Up close, his eyes seem bright
I have a friend who's promised to show (and probably let me photograph) his multiple David McManaway JOMOs next time I have lunch with him, so I may yet add more pix to this story, which will probably end up on a page of its own or in the Art Here Lately section of this website.
Creator Unknown French Guitarist wood and paint 12 inches high
Sold to McManaway by Alex Troup many years ago for $3.
* JOMO-related info online
There's a decent and honest interview with David by Michael Ennis in the July 1980 Texas Monthly called Got My JOMO Workin' that succinctly and intelligently explains his work and studio situation. The story continues through several ad pages, but it's all there.
There's also a poignant page previewing former SMU painting and drawing Teacher Roger Winter's On Drawing book featuring David McManaway in a story called "Artists at Play."
Here's a Google page-full of images associated with the names "David McManaway" and "JOMO" that already includes several of those on this page and from other places on the internet. At the top are six JOMO boards, apparently from the Dallas Museum of Art, except their pix on their pages are smaller than those on the Image Search Page.
A better image of a Jomo Board is on Houston's Moody Gallery page, although again, the picture on the page it points to is smaller. Another Moody page has a larger, but overly-enlarged and thus less well focused image of another JOMO Board.
There are many photographs of McManaway's studio walls on Don Magnus' site.
* David McManaway on DallasArtsRevue.com
There's a mention of David McManaway and others' participation in what's there called "Dallas' fledgling Contemporary Arts Museum," where also worked Murray Smither and Janet Kutner. The mention is above a grayscale version of a Dwayne Carter painting of Murray, near the bottom of that very short page of "community gossip" that was reprinted from TexasArtsRevue (long story) #10 from December 1983.
There's a quick review by me under a David McManaway mixed media piece at Gerald Peters gallery called Balancing Act — of a horse on wheels on a toy trailer with a clown on the horse holding up a ballerina — from 1998 in Blurring the lines between art and not: HJ, CG, GP & Bend.
There are four mentions of David (two with Norma) in Paul Rogers Harris' DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member Page titled "Photographs by Paul Rogers Harris" and one more mention in Harris' "I never thought of myself as an artist" that Paul published for his show, Paul Rogers Harris: 50 Years in Art that was curated by Murray Smither at Mountain View College in 2001.
Two richlay colorful photographs and a bunch of words about David H. Gibson's Photographic Installation of David McManaway's studio and work at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in 2002 is featured on what appears to be its own, short page.
one i at a time - revisited: Jim Love and David McManaway at Pillsbury Peters, through March 9, 2002
Norma McManaway's name was listed as one of the artists listed but not in the show, Texas Vision — The Barrett Collection at the Meadows Museum in 2004.
A postcard painted by David McManaway was on Dallas Artist Norman Kary's studio wall thanking Kary and Art Shirer for little treasures. The mention and an image of the postcard is about half-way down the page, "A Studio Visit with Norman Kary" in 2007. Search the page for David's name.
As noted in the story above, DallasArtsRevue published an obituary written by his friend Don Mangus in 2010.
THE LARGEST PHOTO OF A DAVID MCMANAWAY JOMO ON LINE is one of my photographs about 8 clicks down the 2013 Art Here Lately#16 story, Dallas SITES at the DMA + Other Visions just below a picture of Toxic Shock smiling.
Another image from that show of David Gibosn's photographs of McManaway's studio showed at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (The MAC) and is pictured just down from the top of Art Here Lately #19 in 2014