magic garden :: mosaic madness

If you ever happen to be in Philadelphia, wander over to the 1000th block of South Street. There you will find an incredible treasure .

Reminiscent of an acid trip, The Magic Gardens of Philadelphia developed in the mid 1960s when a group of young artists and entrepreneurs began renting derelict storefronts and apartments above the run-down stores around South Street, Philadelphia. 
Enter Isaiah Zagar, a young artist freshly inspired by a MOMA show of assemblages from artists Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, Curt Schwitters, Antonio Gaudi along side the untrained brickaleurs Clarence Schmit, Simon Rodia and Joseph Ferdinand Cheval. Zagar had a vision for Philidelphia, at least this section anyway - to transform it into a labyrinthine mosaic museum that would incorporate all of his  artistic talents and know-how. Although this narrow corridor had been tagged for demolition to make way for an expressway, the artist started tiling any wall or alleyway,  when and however he could, with his colorful mosaics. His medium of choice was empty bottles, broken dishes, bicycle wheels ,discarded trash and whatever else looked interesting at the moment. Slowly the weedy,garbage filled ,rodent infested patch of cityscape became an urban oasis of colorful mosaic murals.
Although the "official" Isaiah Zagar's Magic Garden is on the 1000 block of South Street,his work can be seen elsewhere too. Turn any corner and suddenly you will be greeted by walls festooned with glittery jeweled globs of glass, glistening shards of mirror, and shining tiles and dishes. It's JUST COOL!

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