The “Junk King” – Vince Hannemann

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Cathedral of Junk – Vince Hannemann

4422 Lareina Drive
Austin, TX
(512) 299-7413
Sculpture environment
By appointment only

At one point in the 1990s, Vince Hanneman was in charge of the city’s recycling program. And it worked out really well, because he could bring home more old bikes, TVs and appliances to add to the tiers of trash spiraling upward in his backyard. Not an untidy pile, but an architectural oddity he called his cathedral, a place where he could have coffee overlooking the yard in the morning, or parties at night, with its various rooms lit with Christmas lights. Tens of thousands have visited, some have even held weddings here.

Vince was, at the time, renting the property, which makes his achievement all the more notable. The sculpture did appear briefly in a “Spy Kids” movie, and in recent years Vince has begun selling a series of smaller works made from found objects too.

Just last year the Cathedral was in danger of demolition. Issues with the easement, troubles finding a structural engineer to validate it’s safety…and it got down to the wire. Luckily, Vince found the engineer, the lawyers, and architect and an army of volunteers moved 40 tons of junk out of the easement and he got his permit.

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(Photos © copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)

Bibliography & Links:

“Detour Art—Outsider, Folk Art, and Visionary Folk Art Environments Coast to Coast, Art and Photographs from the Collection of Kelly Ludwig” by Kelly Ludwig, Kansas City Star Books, 2007.

“Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations” (the book), by Randy Mason, Michael Murphy and Don Mayberger, Kansas City Star Publishing, 2002.

“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.

“Yard Art and Handmade Places: Extraordinary Expressions of Home” by Jill Nokes, with Pat Jasper, University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, 2007.

On DVD – Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, “Miles and Miles o’ Mo-Tex-Arkana”, KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 1996-2001.