The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996

Book Reviews

promoted several major shows of Texas painting and decorative arts. Bywaters
contributed support and materials to these exhibitions.
Carraro has made a significant contribution to Texas art history with this biog-
raphy of a sensitive, dedicated, gentle man who so gallantly devoted his life to
promoting regional art. I hope she will follow this book with many more erudite
works on the subject of Texas art.
The Witte Museum CECILIA STEINFELDT
Daddy-O: Iguana Heads and Texas Tales. Bob "Daddy-O" Wade with Keith and
Kent Zimmerman. Foreword by Linda Ellerbee. Afterword by Kinky Fried-
man. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995. Pp. xii+212. ISBN 0-31213-459-2.
$24.95.)
This is not your usual long-suffering, gloomy, starved-in-a-garrett, cut-off-your-
ear wail of the artist as victim surrogate for personkind. Bob "Daddy-O" Wade is
an artist with visions of gigantic proportions who grew up as an El Paso hotel
brat with good manners and a vivid imagination. Hooked on custom cars, cow-
girls, and critters and with Roy Rogers as his second cousin, Bob Wade has had a
rich and varied childhood that hopefully will never end. If one wants to know
about the Texas art scene, especially the collision between pop culture and sur-
realistic "ort," this is an indispensable book.
Here is the man who so loved the noble iguana that he succeeded in placing a
giant polyurethane example on top of New York's Lone Star Cafe so exiled Tex-
ans could find a friend in that unreal city. In like manner, San Antonio's North
Star Mall features Wade's forty-foot-high cowboy boots; Houston sports a seventy-
foot-high "Smokesax"; Malibu and the Pacific Coast Highway are served by big
"El Salsero"; and the giant dancing frogs that once decorated Carl's Truck Stop
on the way to Dallas now belong to the Chuy's restaurant chain in Austin, along
with a large-mouth bass whose eyes light up and who blows smoke when two
quarters are inserted-only God knows where. St. Thomas University in Houston
is the proud possessor of one of Daddy-O's sensational large sculpted maps,
while his three-hundred-foot masterpiece, the bicentennial map of the U.S.A., is,
alas, long gone from Farmer's Branch, a Dallas suburb. Wade is still best known,
however, for his color-enhanced postcard pictures of i920os Texas cowgirls all
lined up in a row. One can buy them as paintings or as T-shirts. The latter can
be found almost any place in the world.
Daddy-O's picaresque story is not without numerous adventures, from fifteen-
year-old virginity trips to Curly's "Club" in Juarez and a night spent in the hell-
hole jail at "Cuidad" de Acuna, to the searches for his award-winning Texas
Mobile Home Museum, stolen, would you believe, from the Paris Biennale at al-
most the very same time that his gold 1971 Cadillac with its collection of photos
of "buck-naked" UT coeds stashed in the trunk was stolen here in Texas. This
cut his last ties with his alma mater, but not with the "animal house" Kappa Sigs
who remain his lifelong friends, together with Ann Richards, Dennis Hopper,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed October 24, 2014.