A black sign with white script stands alone on the gray, littered sidewalk of downtown. Written are the words “The Museum of Un-Natural History.” The sign sits in front of a glass door embedded in the brick wall.
Another sign with the words “Black Door Gallery” hangs on the glass and behind the door is a long, tall staircase.
While ascending this staircase a woman’s torso with wheels for arms, known as Roller Girl, stands at the top, waiting. Sitting above the doorway, hidden from sight, is a caged Mickey Mouse doll, sagging with sorrow, watching the next participant climb to the second floor.
One more door stands between the soon to be witness and the room of surrealism beyond.
While many have mistaken creator and owner of the Museum of Un-Natural History, Gerry Matthews, as another piece of art on exhibit, he actually watches over his enterprise.
Dadaism is the style of art that defies modern or classical art. Surrealism is a style of art that arranges images in seemingly random patterns that please the eye.
“Dada was created back in the 1920s when some rebel artists didn’t like being told how to paint, they rebelled against classical art,” Matthews said.
Matthews’ pieces start as simple items which he morphs and builds into collections of art that envelop his ideals or any concepts that he wishes to mock.
Matthews works on his art in his basement and puts the finished products on display. “I’m a little slower then I used to be,” Matthews said.
His art ranges from simplistic sculptures to electrically-run machines.
Here are some very simple ideas, such as “Egg of the Giant Squawk,” a giant egg hanging in a cage, to an electrically revolving display of soldiers known as “God is an American,” that Matthews has on display.
Matthews grew up in Houston, Texas, and attended the Edgar Allan Poe Elementary school. He attended high school with surrealism author Donald Barthelme, writer of works such as “Sixty Stories” and “The Dead Father.”
“I worked on and opened this place in the summer of 2001, been here ever since,” Matthews said.
His inspiration comes from previous artist of the 1920s. The individual pieces of art are inspired by political concepts, jokes, ideals or anything Matthews enjoys.
“The attraction of this style is that it has no rules, no guidelines,” Matthews said. Matthews can fit any object or item he finds into his work, whether playing with words, or just a diorama of little knick-knacks that look good together.
The Museum of Un-Natural History is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by an appointment. The museum is completely free, but Matthews does accept donations and comments. More information can be viewed at www.wallawalladada.com.