Like any great work of art or architecture, Bishop Castle is a pleasure to visit on many (any) levels. Jim Bishop, its architect and namesake, and his caricaturistic anti-heroism has enough negative capability for all the Romantics put together, and his screeds are usually part of the sauce. But on a recent visit, absent Bishop himself, I found myself taken with the lovely and hilarious contradictions that Bishop and his castle embody, namely: Bishop’s Constitutional fanaticism and all-American rugged individualism combined with what is probably the most potent symbol of monarchical/dictatorial power known to humanity: the castle. And yet, by way of his total openness to the public, Bishop somehow manages to make his castle a beacon of messy, precarious, and thrilling democratic freedoms. With all its porta-potties, graffiti, ad hoc fixes, globs of chewing gum, rotten apple cores, vertiginous stair-cases, and its total at-your-own-risk attitude, Bishop Castle truly belongs to its visitors in a way that it only could in America.

Here’s to Jim Bishop and his freedom!

 

5 Responses to The People’s Castle: Bishop Revisited

  1. Mary H says:

    Never ceases to amaze me. So much work. So much creativity.

  2. Sarah says:

    I didn’t think that structure seemed entirely sound.

  3. Mike M says:

    Great treatment. Reveals Bishop Castle to be more than a castle – but also a cathedral and art gallery . . . perhaps even a shrine to art and humanity.

  4. Dianne says:

    Nifty pix. Thanks for these perspectives, especially from heights I never plan to ascend. What was the music? Lovely.

  5. Nico says:

    Jim Bishop is a crank and a nut and a treasure. Thanks to Noel Black for reminding us that J.B.’s still out there, doing his kooky thing, and thanks too for going, as Dianne says, to heights I plan never to ascend.

News

AP
September 30, 2014 | NPR · A man who flew to the U.S. from Liberia has tested positive for Ebola. He was not sick on the plane, but developed symptoms later. He is currently in isolation at a hospital in Dallas.
 

Getty Images
September 30, 2014 | NPR · Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday that raises the hourly rate from under $11.90 to $13.13 an hour for thousands of fast-food and retail workers.
 

iStockphoto
September 30, 2014 | NPR · A wearable PET scanner and lasers that could control individual brain circuits are among the projects funded by a $46 million federal effort to accelerate research on the human brain.
 

Arts & Life

September 30, 2014 | NPR · Tess Taylor reviews Christian Wiman’s new collection of poems, “Once in the West.”
 

September 30, 2014 | NPR · Rachel Martin talks to food writer Mark Bittman about his new cookbook, “How to Cook Everything Fast,” which thumbs its nose at the French tradition of having ingredients prepped before you cook.
 

September 30, 2014 | NPR · Matt Bai says that while voters have always cared about candidates’ characters, some news used to be off limits. His new book looks at Gary Hart’s 1987 affair that destroyed his political ambitions.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
September 30, 2014 | NPR · Two new albums, a solo effort and a collaboration with the band 3RDEYEGIRL, mark Prince’s return to the studio. Tom Moon says that only one fully captures what an explosive performer he can still be.
 

AFP/Getty Images
September 30, 2014 | NPR · The label has become a crucial ambassador, introducing many world-music artists to American fans. Hear 10 songs from across Nonesuch’s remarkable 50-year history.
 

Courtesy of the artists
September 30, 2014 | NPR · On this week’s All Songs: We share great new electronic music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ unsettling Gone Girl soundtrack, Thom Yorke and Aphex Twin, plus new music from Robert Plant and more.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab