Antonio Goncalves

Status

Extant

Address

454 Seaview Avenue , Bridgeport, Connecticut, 06607, us

Built

begun early 2000s

Visiting Information

The site is visible from street and sidewalk, and although access to the yard is usually locked, visitors are welcomed if the artist is on-site.



About the Artist/Site

Antonio Goncalves emigrated to the United States from Portugal in the 1970s and worked in the construction trades, primarily remodeling houses. Now retired, he posts no hours, but thanks to a stenciled sign in the front window, ANTIQUES, “Mr. Tony” occasionally makes sales from a sizable stash of old pictures, paintings, light fixtures, figurines, and various display items that crowd the ground floor of his home.

In the early 2000s, Goncalves decided that he wanted to create a “crazy house,” so he began to channel some of his ground-floor overflow right out the front door to ornament his yard. During his regular flea market and estate sale rounds he also began to specifically search for plaster statuary and other outdoor display figures. Although the artist does not have a special name for the environment he is creating, he has declared “no one’s got one like this in the whole world,” and others have begun to refer to it as the Mannequin House. Punctuated by American flags, the cumulative effect of Goncalves’s environment makes for a sort of Victorian kitsch surrealism—with sculptures displayed on bent hose pedestals and a mast for strings of second-story Christmas lights.

Seaview Avenue runs along the shore of Long Island Sound, and Goncalves’s display of ocean-gazing mannequins was considerably damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. At first contact, Mr. Tony was concerned that the yard and house were not sufficiently presentable for documentation, but with the day-long help of his brother-in-law, we were able to clean up and restore the display to his satisfaction for these 2013 photographs.

Goncalves is a member of a sizable Portuguese-speaking community in Bridgeport, and one can’t help but wonder if this yard and house full of figures are symbolically transfixed—looking out to the sea—from whence Mr. Tony came.

The site is visible from street and sidewalk, and although access to the yard is usually locked, visitors are welcomed if the artist is on-site.

~Fred Scruton



Materials

found objects

Map & Site Information

454 Seaview Avenue
Bridgeport, Connecticut, 06607 us
Latitude/Longitude: 41.1701641 / -73.1709389

Nearby Environments

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