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Velveteria™ » Blog Archive » Velvet Museum in Touch with Kitsch

Velvet Museum in Touch with Kitsch

The inevitable dogs playing poker hangs in the Velveteria.

The inevitable dogs playing poker hangs in the Velveteria.

Listen to Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin, owners of Velveteria, on NPR Morning Edition, May 22, 2008
by Harriet Baskas

Velvet paintings sold cheap from vans at roadside stands across the country are now achieving loftier status. There’s a new coffee-table book and a museum — the Velveteria — in Portland, Ore., featuring the fuzzy velvet art.

Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin serve as curators for the 300 velvet museum pieces, which include paintings of Rambo, Bruce Lee and the rock band KISS as well as luminescent unicorns and fluorescent matadors. Baldwin says contrary to what people might think, in the world of velvet, Elvis is not king.

In fact, visitors who opt to pass through the pink velvet curtains at the museum’s entrance will find that Jesus is the figure most often depicted on velvet.

“We have a whole shrine over here with Jesus [and] Mary. We have black Jesus,” Baldwin says.

The shrine is a wall filled with about 50 classic religious images, a beatific Liberace and other offbeat icons.

“I saw Sammy Davis Jr. in this painting, hence we have Sammy Davis Jesus,” Baldwin explains.

In second place among velvet painters are naked ladies copied from Playboy centerfolds, the curators say. For example, there’s a naked woman standing by a glass table with her hand in a goldfish bowl.

Other familiar faces on display include Jack Kevorkian, E.T., Mr. T and multiple Michael Jacksons. And if people ask nicely, they can touch the portraits, Anderson says.

“You know there’s the velvet and then there’s the velveteen,” she explains. “And the velvet’s plushier.”


2 Responses to “Velvet Museum in Touch with Kitsch”

  • 1 Dawn S. Says:

    Hello,

    I just saw the Anthony Bourdain episode about the NW and how did I ever not know your museum existed? And I live in Salem!

    I realize that Velveteria is a museum but are some of your paintings for sale? If Anthony didn’t buy the Mr. T painting and if it is indeed for sale I am super interested.

    Thank-you! Dawn

  • 2 admin Says:

    Velveteria has just started to sell some velvet paintings, but unfortunately the Mr. T painting is not for sale. The artist, who painted the piece, is a local artist named Juanita. You can find her paintings at velvetjuanita.blogspot.com. Hopefully you can make a visit up to the museum sometime. thanks!

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