American Wood Sculptor John Cross: A Contemporary Figurative Folk Artist

March 20, 2018 – July 8, 2018
John Cross, Man with Cigar, ca. 1990

John Cross, Man with Cigar, ca. 1990

In celebration of his 60th reunion at Middlebury College, the Henry Sheldon Museum of Middlebury, VT offers a retrospective of the whimsical wood carvings of John Cross, a masterful contemporary folk artist.  The exhibit, American Wood Sculptor John Cross: A Contemporary Figurative Folk Artist, runs from March 20, 2018 through July 8, 2018.

Few would have predicted that an economics major at Middlebury College who earned a master’s degree in business at the University of Chicago would have begun carving during his career as a creative copywriter at a premier New York advertising agency.  Humor, perseverance, and imagination are the skills reflected in all phases of his life journey.

John Cross began whittling while watching the filming of commercials for which he wrote the scripts for Proctor & Gamble and for Toyota.  His ad copy promoted such iconic brands as Scope mouthwash and Crest toothpaste.  During the day he wrote jingles from his advertising office in New York City, then headed for 813 Broadway where he shared a rented loft with sculptor William King, coincidentally in the same building where Wolf Kahn painted.  Kahn, who now maintains a summer studio near Brattleboro, VT, is known for his sumptuous landscapes, and King, who died in 2015, worked in clay, wood, bronze, vinyl, burlap, and aluminum.  Cross, King, and Kahn were among the poets, artists, and museum professionals who gathered for drinks and conversation at the renowned Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village to encourage one another.