American Primitive Gallery (B5)
This doll once belonged to Possum Trot, a roadside attraction, operated for more than twenty-five years by Calvin and Ruby Black. During the Depression, Calvin Black and his wife opened a rock and mineral shop on Highway 15, a stretch of highway in the desolate Mojave Desert. To boost business and attract clientele, the Blacks created art environments, including a model train and carousel, but most famously, dolls—that posed in tableaux, drove carriages across the building’s roof, kicked, and waved arms. Made from fragments of telephone poles, adorned with clothes from the local dump, the dolls became the focus of a devised piece, entitled “Fantasy Doll Show,” in which the dolls did a “song and dance,” for passerby. To many, the dolls have come to embody the persistence and endurance—especially in pursuit of the American dream.