Vollis Simpson. Life, Liberty & Pursuit of Happiness Whirligig. 1993. Painted metal and found objects. Permanent Collection of the American Visionary Art Museum, gift of the artist. Photo by Jack Hoffberger
:: Vollis Simpson's 55-foot-tall whirligig (a name made up by the artist) has become one of Baltimore's most cherished sculptural landmarks. Made of completely recycled materials, the three-ton creation is a kinetic, wind-powered sculpture. It is dedicated to salute Federal Hill, which hugs the back of the AVAM. Simpson, a mechanic, farmer, and visionary artist, was recognized across the country for his work. For more on Simpson, visit our online edition of 2012 NEA Arts, Number 3.
"Consider Vollis – anybody looking at his work can see it’s beautifully engineered, incredibly balanced. It does everything you could ask of a work of art. But people were not nice with Vollis early on and he did not care one way or another. Vollis was tickled. He was in the business of joy. He said once, 'I'm really just in it because I like to watch the wind.' There's a poetry when you follow an idea to its end and it is so rich. It brings in the science the cross-cultural connections where you have a farmer saying things that speak to people all around the world. And that's when you know it's really right." - AVAM Founder and Director Rebecca Alban Hoffberger