Bailey Art Museum – Crockett, California - Atlas Obscura
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Crockett, California

Bailey Art Museum

Junkbots and mud babies are the masterpieces in this fantastically sci-fi art museum. 

Don’t go to Crockett, California’s Bailey Art Museum looking for the fine works of the Renaissance masters, because it is too busy with much more interesting works.

The brainchild of local artists Betty and Clayton Bailey, the museum is filled with his absurdist future creations. Clayton made his name creating “Funk” art and later “Nut” art works in ceramic and metal, many of his pieces using found objects. But unlike a number of artists who use found objects as an excuse to create junky contraptions, Bailey’s work tends towards a polished sheen. As though his cobbled together robots, most of which are the size of an adult human, are brand new. But even if they are new, they seem to hail from some cartoon otherverse.

His ceramic work is just as amazingly fanciful, taking for example the “Life Out of Mud” works that are sculpted to look like little homonculi under glass. other ceramic works include a Cyclops skull, and creepy aberrations that look like the leftovers from an H.P. Lovecraft exhibition.  

Much of his weird history output was created under his performative alter ego, Dr. George Gladstone, who first appeared on the scene in 1969. Gladstone’s name adorns a number of his more taxonomic works, such as the Bigfoot skeleton that was said to be found in his very own California town.

Bailey’s world is somewhere between a curiously grotesque Cronenberg-ian nightmare and the 1950s sheen of strange retro-futuristic robots. He brings both to life with equally fascinating effect.