Holy by Albert Wagner
Mississippi Mud by Albert Wagner
The first time I ever heard about Albert Wagner is when I watched One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story, an award-winning 2008 documentary that chronicles the life of this so-called “Moses of East Cleveland”. The movie takes us on a wild ride through the ups and downs of his life, including his origins as the child of sharecroppers to his becoming a “slave to sex, wine and women” to him being spontaneously and miraculously reborn as an artist and ordained minister.
Albert Wagner’s story is a very interesting one to say the least. The entire time I watched it I kept going back and forth about whether I actually liked him or not. Should I focus on the passion he puts into his paintings or the truly heinous crime he was convicted of? Either way, people tend to have very strong opinions about him and his work.
His critics think that his art is too basic and primitive and that it reflects his controversial views about race relations, which often conflict with opinions found in the rest of the Black community. His supporters believe that his work is simple and soulful in the tradition of great folk art, and that it’s an important contribution to the art world.
What do you think? Watch the movie here and let me know.