Charles A.A. Dellschau and the Mythology of Flight


Stephen Romano and Brian Chidester
Sunday September 8th 3:00 pm

Full Seminar Schedule

"HAS BIN" 1919 Watercolor pencil and collage on paper. Courtesy Stephen Romano Gallery.

"HAS BIN" 1919 Watercolor pencil and collage on paper.
Courtesy Stephen Romano Gallery.

This exhibition and related talk (by curator Brian Chidester and gallerist Stephen Romano) features several never-before-exhibited works by the artist (Dellschau) whom author Edward Gomez referred to as one of "art brut and outsider art's holiest grails".

The story of the Zeppelin and Airplane, i.e. of flight technology, is a well-documented one of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. The twelve bound volumes of paintings and collages by Texas-based artist Charles A.A. Dellschau call that entire narrative into question however. Beginning in 1893, Dellschau created a body of work that portends to tell the alternate history of flight, one where a group of German expats living in Northern California in the 1850s invented the first flying machines as a secret society of engineers. Fact or fiction? This exhibition presents Dellschau's most convincing blueprints of baubles which the artist himself claims were built fifty years before the Wright brothers and Kitty Hawk.

Brian Chidester is an writer, editor, and art historian. He authored the book "Pop Surf Culture: Music, Design, Film, and Fashion from the Bohemian Surf Era" (Santa Monica Press) in 2008 and has writes regular articles and reviews for major publications such as: "The American Prospect," "The Atlantic," "The L.A. Weekly," "Paste," "The Surfer's Journal," and "The Village Voice." Chidester has served as an editor for "Dumb Angel" magazine,, "The Deli" magazine, and the "Ephemera" art blog, and has been a segment producer of historical documentaries for the BBC, PBS, Showtime, and the Carl Wilson Foundation. He is currently the curator/director of programming for the Impact Events Group and recently mounted "Celluloid Babylon: The Visionary Photographs of William Mortensen in the Silent Film Era" for the NYC Book and Paper Fair in Midtown Manhattan. Chidester lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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