EMERY BLAGDON, NE
Emery Blagdon, Healing Machine (detail, untitled individual components), wire, tin foil, mixed media; 37 x 30 x 27 in; c. 1950–86.
Born in the small town of Callaway, Blagdon spent most of his life on the sandhill plains of Nebraska. In the late 1950s he began to build a large device designed to channel the electrical currents of the earth and employ them to heal arthritis, cancer, and perhaps other ailments. Using various types of wire, aluminum foil, waxed paper, beads, paints, and various elemental substances, Blagdon made hundreds of individual elements for what he called his Healing Machine and rearranged them frequently according to his perceived flow of energy. After the artist’s death in 1986, his estate was auctioned off, and, remarkably, all of the works in his work shed and those that comprised the Healing Machine itself were purchased by individuals who wanted the work to remain together. Today, the works that comprised the Healing Machine, some 400 individual components, are part of the Arts Center’s Collection. Cleaned and preserved, the Healing Machine made its debut at the Arts Center as part of the SUBLIME SPACES & VISIONARY WORLDS: Built Environments of Vernacular Artists exhibition series, in 2007.
SUBLIME SPACES & VISIONARY WORLDS