Jesse Howard would fit comfortably in with the current discourse on corruption and waste in government, banking regulations, and big business. He created an environment on his property in Fulton, Missouri comprised of hundreds, if not thousands of hand painted signs. As graphic designers the image conjured is a visual cacophony of layered and juxtaposed type, color, and design.
The town's folk were not sympathetic to his opinions and politics or his means of expression. They attempted to have Howard committed to the state mental hospital on occasion but failed for lack of signatures from his neighbors.
Howard's work has been exhibited in the 1993 show "Common Ground/Uncommon Vision" the Michael and Julie Hall Collection of American Folk Art. The exhibit "Radiant Object" 1994 at Montana State University, recognized Howard as an self-taught artist within the Vokersz Collection.
The environment was bulldozed in 1989 but because much of the signage was stolen (if not destroyed) random panels come up for sale at auctions and galleries. His work is represented by such names as Larry Hackley, and Judy Saslow Galleries.
His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York and the National Museum of Folk Art in Washington, D.C., as well as the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin. We first discovered Howard's work as part of "Naives and Visionaries" the 1974 Walker Center show.
Our panel was given to us by friends Kimberly Klosterman and Michael Lowe avid collectors of photography and internationally known modern artists. The gift was a pleasant surprise in exchange for IT work performed on their computers in the 1990's. As political junkies it is prominent in our collection.