Title of Work
Date of Work
35mm color slide
James Smith Pierce Collection
Stored: 211 Cupboard C, JSPS-09-OD-1
UND Art Collections Repository
Born in Brooklyn, New York, James Smith Pierce received his PhD in art history from Harvard University. During his career as a professor, Pierce also became an accomplished artist, whose artworks were included in important exhibitions (including a show on land art at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC) and books on contemporary earthworks and site-specific sculpture. Pierce was also a photographer, exhibition curator, and art collector.
Stanley “Barefoot” Papio
Stanley Joseph Papio was born in Canada. He was a welder in the Army during WWII and proceeded to wander throughout the United States working various odd jobs after his service. He settled on the island of Key Largo in 1949 and opened his own welding business. The origin of his “Barefoot” moniker is simple; he welded barefoot. He said that the sparks from welding wrecked his shoes and it was cheaper for him to get used to his burned feet.
Papio encouraged people to leave their old cars, appliances, and other metal detritus on his lot so that he could incorporate them into his sculpture. Over time, the area became more and more developed and neighbors were continually complaining about his sculptures; Papio created his museum to avoid zoning laws that the locals would bring up to levy fines on him. Papio often gave his sculptures humorous and spiteful names making fun of some of his detractors.
Papio began to gain some degree of fame later in his life; he would go on to exhibit his work in Ottawa, and some of his works were toured across Europe as part of an exhibit “America Now”, put on by the U.S. State Department. Encouraged by this, he planned to build a trailer to tour his artwork across America. He died of a heart attack at age 67 which ended any of his further plans. His legacy is kept alive due to the donation of his works to the Key West Art and Historical society, which still displays them to this day.
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Digitally preserved 2021.