Outsider Art, Inside
Peter Bardy (1943 - 2008, Milwaukee, WI)
by Lynne Shumow
Peter Bardy was born in Milwaukee in 1943. He resided in
downtown Milwaukee during his childhood years and on
the City's west side as an adult. Bardy received a degree in
business administration from the University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee in 1967. He served in the U.S. Army from 1967-
1969, where he was stationed in Korea. He did not receive
formal art training and did not pursue a career as an artist but
he was a voracious reader of art theory and a regular visitor to
museums and galleries.
Bardy worked exclusively with found objects; in particular,
stones and boulders found along the lake shore and stainless
steel pieces taken from the junk yard. From 1990-2000, Bardy
transformed his Arts and Crafts home into a minimalist art
environment. He removed all the nonessential utilitarian objects
and frilly decorative elements to focus attention, instead, on the
architectural structure of the house and the way natural light
interacts with reflective surfaces. The living room carpet was
replaced with a metal conveyor belt. The etched glass plates
of the dining room light fixture were taken out, leaving behind
the visible bulbs and empty brass arms. The dark cavern of the
fireplace was obscured by a simple square of stainless steel.
Everything in the house was precisely placed and carefully
arranged from the miniature exhibition of stones and utensils in
the kitchen drawer to the tableau of sunglasses and dominoes
on the bedroom dresser to the full blown gallery in the
basement. As Bardy's brother Alex reflected, "There's a sense of
belonging throughout the entire house. One piece is here, not
twenty, but one, beautiful work of art."
Lynne Shumow works at the Haggerty Museum of Art - Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.
Links to images of Bardy's sculpture:
VR trip inside Bardy's home/gallery (15 min. download)
"The Poignancy of Peter Bardy"
by Mary Louise Schumacher of the Journal Sentinel
Mar. 10, 2009
All Images Copyright Dimitre Photography Inc.
Dimitre Photography Inc.
1350 West Erie Street
Chicago, Il 60622