Document Type

Research Paper


Art & Art History




Excerpt from paper: "Come one, come all to the fascinating world of the carnival: a wonderland at first glance, something from a dream or a nightmare. Spirited jingles from a cheap speaker are playing overhead and everything is painted to look like a circus clown. Step right up! The carnival talker beckons you inside. “Freaks! Live! Dead! Other! SEE THEM NOW!”

Little captured the spirit of this place better than the sideshow banner. For a long time, these painted tarps were valued only for their ability to lure in an audience; once obsolete, they were reused as scraps. Since then, they’ve been gradually recognized for their contribution to American material culture, migrating from the antique shop to the gallery. These paintings employed visual techniques like vivid colors, bold lettering, and evocative imagery to inflate the “freakishness” of the figures depicted..."