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.


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