Available on Amazon Kindle: "STRAW MEN"

A short story by John Morse

Straw Men Cover


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Welcome to Star Dog Studio and the art of John Morse

New work, gallery and studio updates and upcoming events


Master quilter Branda Mangum creates Next Step through the Colors based on John Morse design

Rainbow Man Quilt

Branda Mangum Next Step through the Colors, 2015, quilted fabric, 8x8ft

The art of Branda Mangum, a master quilter based in Northern Florida, was exhibited in 2010 at Wm Turner gallery in Atlanta in the "Surrealist Next Door," curated by Morse. Soon afterwards, he and Mangum began collaborating on a new work based on a design by Morse but entirely left to the interpretation and execution of Mangum. The result pulls together a composition of 784 four-inch cloth squares bespeaking the color spectrum overlaid with a "pedestrian crossing" appliqué of black and white squares that echo the hues and values of the background colors.



September 26 - October 31, 2015

Art on 5th

Austin, Texas



Texas State Capitol, Austin 2015, paper collage 17X22"



Posters from E-3 Gallery, New York exhibitions (clockwise from upper left) John Morse Collage 1996, wtc 1982-2001, 2002, John Morse Collage 1998, and four editions of Look 2014 (visual poem)


crowd 1

Art peeps.



nyc dr's office

sdsu student unionatl eagle

Look placements (clockwise from upper left): San Diego Infinity dealership (photo: T.Brandon), New York therapist's office (photo: anonymous), Atlanta Eagle (photo: R.Pedersen), South Dakota State Universtity student union (photo: S. Lavin)

Umbrella Arts hosted the official launch of John Morse's newest visual poem, Look, on October 23, 2014. Disguised as a 1960s style photo news magazine, the poem examines issues of voyeurism, celebrity and the modern surveillance state in an astonishingly brief snippet of verse, 17 words across eight glossy pages. Published in a numbered edition of 5,000, the magazine has been secretly placed in laundromats, airport lounges, nail salons, waiting rooms and other such spaces across America by a small cadre of volunteers who distributed them from Vermont to Florida, Seattle to Ohio, and around the world. The Twitter hashtag #LookPoem has documented many of the placements by various volunteers. In January 2014 an artist-signed copy of the poem was accepted into the Poetry Foundation's library archives in Chicago.


JOHN MORSE Presents The Color Spectrum at the Guggenheim

Photos by Jaynie Gillman Crimmins

Many artists want an exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  John Morse did not wait for the invitation.

Morse, who has spent decades gamely engaging visual poetry, installation, collage and public art, gently invaded the iconic museum on July 12 to create The Color Spectrum at the Guggenheim, a walking panoply of the rainbow flag featuring six collaborators, each in an oversized t-shirt in one of the primary or secondary colors.  Aligned side-by-side, the pop-up installation/guerilla performance wended from the top of the museum's famed circular walkway to the floor of the conical rotunda in a literally moving interpretation of a prism. 
The event, quiet in its presence but full voiced in its imagery, intrigued more than a few museum goers, according to the event’s participants who reported such comments as, "Look! It's an art piece!" and "You are art, aren't you?"  Museum personnel, too, seemed largely bemused by the event, with at least one guard asking the colorful six, “Where’s my t-shirt?”

Though photography is not allowed on the museum's ramp, several onlookers discretely documented the happening. They included sculptor Jaynie Gillman Crimmins, who managed to catch a particularly compelling image, and award-winning cinematographer Edward Marritz, co-shooter of 1994 Best Oscar documentary Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, who captured the happening in footage featured in a brief video posted to YouTube.  For the video, Brooklyn based musician and frequent Morse collaborator Ford Rogers composed and performed an original soundtrack, Round and Down.

The color spectrum has been a consistent touchstone in Morse's public art since at least 1988, when he installed The Color Spectrum in Fruits and Vegetables, an actual a 16-foot wide wooden fruit stand densely packed with – yes – fruits and vegetables arranged à la the rainbow, for an opening at the then nascent Socrates Sculpture Park.  In late 2012, he tied 50 “Rainbow Prayer Flags,” a gay flag interpretation of the traditional religious strings of cloth squares, at street corners throughout Atlanta as a way to welcome in 2013.  As recently as this past June, he and collaborators reconditioned a graffiti covered wall in Atlanta with a Stonewall anniversary salute of color and neighborhood pride (see below).

Morse has a long history of placing art in surprising, often unexpected places, though this is the first time that the unexpected place for art was, in fact, an art museum. 


Links to various media coverage:





Star Dog Studio transforms Atlanta eyesore into homage to Stonewall

In late June, the artist’s studio, with help of neighbor Skip Marklein, commandeered a longtime Atlanta eyesore into a rainbow homage to the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, considered the beginning of the modern LGBT movement.

Click here for local coverage on the Atlanta gay news blog Project Q.


Recent Collages

A.Lincoln, 2015, found paper collage, 18"x24"

Abraham Lincoln, 2015


Untitled (de Kooning Flag), 2014, found paper collage, 36" x 24"



Untitled (Sprite Flag), 2014, found paper collage, 36" x 24"

Flag Collage



Abraham Lincoln, 2014, found paper collage, 30" x 36"

Abraham Lincoln 2014


Teddy Roosvelt, 2014, found paper collage, 30" x 36"

Teddy Roosevelt


NYC DOT Gets "Blotto"

Update: Now you can get your own copy of "Blotto". The New York City DOT has placed tear-sheet tablets of the image all around the city and encourages residents to take one for themselves as a reminder to not drink and drive. Installation locations are shown in the below map image.

Launched in June 2013, a new PSA public installion for the New York City Department of Transportation featuring John Morse's "Blotto" is being shown on 4' x 3' posters at city-owned parking garages and 140 telephone kiosks in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Based on the personality/intelligence inkblot tests made famous by Rorschach over a century ago, the image aims to prod self-realization of the dangers of drinking and driving. A Brooklyn news site describes it as "Arty, Terrifying."

Blotto Phone Booth

A Blotto installation on a phone kiosk in Brooklyn Heights, June 2013. (Photo courtesy Steven R. Smith.)

Blotto Campaign, NYC DOT, 2013

The campaign's phone kiosk version. Other venues include posters at city-owned parking facilities, Jumbotrons at the stadiums of New York's minor league baseball teams in Staten Island and Brooklyn, as well as every coaster and napkin served with beverage at baseball games this summer.



UPDATE: Curbside Haiku, originally intended to be a temporary, one-year installation, remains on the streets of NYC until further notice.

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan launched "Curbside Haiku" on November 30, 2011 with a press conference at the Studio Museum of Harlem.

Following John's winning of the 2011 Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Art Society in March 2012, in June the installation was named one of the 50 most outstanding public works in America by the Public Art Network, a program of the Americans for the Arts and the only professional network in the United States dedicated to the field of public art.

Dice Man Worst NYC Hotspot

The project features more than 200 metal signs in NYC's five boroughs, all featuring images and haiku by John Morse encouraging traffic and pedestrian safety.

The signs, 8" x 8" (and a few 18" x 18" versions posted at city-owned public parking lots), have the accompanying haiku text on a separate sign or feature a qr code that allows smartphone users to download the haiku to their mobile device. The installation will be on display in New York through October, 2012.

Click here to view all 12 haiku images and poems.

John was awarded the Municipal Art Society of New York's 2011 Brendan Gill Prize on March 1, 2012, for the Curbside Haiku installation. The prize is "...given to the creator of a work of art made during the previous year that captures the energy and spirit of New York City,..."


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