Irwin Weiner ASID - It was a happy coincidence that a week ago Jay and I met my cousin and her husband, visiting from Boston, for drinks after work and found ourselves invited to dinner with them and two other couples. One of the other couples turned out to be Allan (Al) and Penny Katz. You'd recognize Al in an instant if you're a regular viewer of Antiques Roadshow on PBS (he's the folk art expert). They kindly gave us tickets to see the latest installment of the Winter Antiques show at the Park Avenue Armory (continuing until February 3).
Al gave us a tour of his booth, which included trade signs, weathervanes, tobacco trade figures, painted furniture, carvings, early advertising, paintings, and whirligigs (he featured a wind-up creation that showed performing trapeze artists, a folk art masterpiece created around the same time as Calder's circus sculptures). We were immediately drawn to the huge scale of the shoe in the photo above. It was used as the base for a footwear display. A pole slotted into the hole at the top and a wire rack to hold shoes once graced the streets of Albany, NY.
We asked Al about the difference between folk art and Americana and insider art, and here's what he told us.
Penny Katz, unfortunately, wasn't at the show; she was taken ill with pneumonia a few days ago and was sidelined in the hospital, resting comfortably and receiving good care. (Feel better, Penny!) To explore owning a piece of important folk art for your home, visit the Allan Katz Americana website and click here to view Al and Penny's current catalog.