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Harold Garrison

Born:
Weaverville, North Carolina 1923

Biography

Garrison calls himself "one hundred percent American" and speaks out strongly against waste and corruption in the federal government and the people's poor representation by politicians who often provide nothing more than "bunk." Ironically, the term bunkum, today bunk, comes from the name of Garrison's home county, Buncombe County. In the early nineteenth century, when criticized for an irrelevant speech, one of the county's congressmen replied that he was "speaking to Buncombe."

Garrison has carved several of these complex government machines—two with a Watergate theme, and one concerning the Democratic Party at its 1972 Chicago convention. [WATER GATE OR GOVERNMENT MACHINE NO. 3 1986.65.248] Most of Garrison's wood carvings, however, are traditional Appalachian split bark work or whittled forms of animals and flowers shaved from sticks.

Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)