The Beautiful Holy Jewel Home: Home of the Original Rhinestone CowboyLoy Allen Bowlin (1909-1995)
Relocated (incl. Museums)
608 New York Avenue, Sheboygan, WI, 53081, United States
Facing demolishment in Mississippi, the home was moved to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and will be on permanent display at the Art Preserve.
About the Artist/Site
Loy Bowlin gained notoriety in his hometown of McComb, Mississippi as the self-proclaimed “Original Rhinestone Cowboy.” Inspired by Glen Campbell’s 1975 hit recording, Bowlin wore dazzling, hand-embellished suits and drove around town in a completely decorated two-door 1967 Cadillac. In the late seventies, he started transforming his small home into a fitting backdrop for his illustrious persona; it became The Beautiful Holy Jewel Home: The Home of the Original Rhinestone Cowboy.
Bowlin ornamented much of the building’s exterior and nearly every inch of the interior. He covered the walls with patterns of cut-out paper, paint, glitter, and collaged photographs and magazine illustrations. The result was a kaleidoscopic, glittering home.
After Bowlin’s death in 1995, his property was sold, and The Beautiful Holy Jewel Home was scheduled to be razed. Houston artist and collector Katy Emde purchased the house, with the stipulation that it be moved from the site, just in time to save it from destruction. Emde carefully documented and dismantled the house. Later, the Kohler Foundation acquired the dismantled building and worked for four years on its preservation. In 2001, The Foundation gifted the art environment to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, along with many of Bowlin’s works of art and personal belongings, including his bedazzled dentures. The entire environment has been exhibited several times at the Arts Center and remains a favorite among local—and international—visitors.
Update, January 2020: The Beautiful Holy Jewel Home will go on permanent display at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's new facility the Art Preserve.
Map & Site Information
608 New York Avenue
Sheboygan, WI, 53081 us
Latitude/Longitude: 43.7525128 / -87.7104111