Obituary for Bob Wade
Austin based artist Bob Wade passed away in Austin, Texas on Christmas Eve. He was 76.
Article: I missed the initial news of Bob “Daddy-O” Wade’s death when it happened last week, but am passing it on to Waco friends and acquaintances who knew him.
Wade, a larger-than-life artist in a larger-than-life state, died early Christmas Eve at his Austin home from congestive heart failure. He was 76.
The Austin Chronicle reports there will be “a party, a wake, a memorial, (and) a righteous tribute” for Wade from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, at Ranch 616, 616 Nueces Street in Austin.
Friend and writer W.K. Stratton has a tribute in Texas Monthly that captures Wade’s career and spirit. Waco friends know him from his time at McLennan Community College back in the late ’60s; works such as his “Funny Farm Family” outdoor sculpture in the Art Center of Waco’s yet-to-be-moved sculpture garden or the giant fiberglass frogs that once stood over Carl’s Corner (three now reside at a Dallas Taco Cabana); his occasional shows at the Art Center or stops in Waco to visit longtime friends.
Wade taught art at McLennan Community College in the college’s early days in the late ’60s and the “Funny Farm Family,” built for the 1968 Hemis Fair in San Antonio out of ventilation piping, metal transformers and shell casings from Melvin Lipsitz’s Waco salvage yard, is arguably the first major public piece to show what would become Wade’s signature: boldness, brashness and playfulness.
Austin artist Bob Wade created the outdoor sculpture “Funny Farm Family” for the Art Center of Waco in 1968.
He was best known for his sense of the outlandish and a wicked wit that ran through his work. Both can be found in his most famous pieces: 40-foot-tall cowboy boots outside San Antonio’s North Side Mall; the aforementioned Tango Frogs, originally created for a Dallas nightclub only to run afoul of signage ordinances; a 12-foot iguana, once perched on New York City’s Lone Star Cafe and now at the Fort Worth Zoo; and an Airstream trailer outfitted with a giant iguana head and tail.
Wade came back to the Art Center in 2015 to repaint his “Funny Farm Family” and oversee its move from one part of the Art Center grounds to another. In 2018, he was back for a 50th year anniversary party for the work. (Disclosure here: Wade asked me to write a short piece on the work for his upcoming book, “Daddy-O’s Book of Big-Ass Art,” to be published by Texas A&M University Press this fall.)
Art Center officials intend to move “Funny Farm Family” and Robert Wilson’s towering “Waco Door,” two major works in the center’s Sculpture Garden at the Art Center’s former location on the McLennan Community College campus, to the center’s new home on South Eighth Street.
Article Credit: https://www.wacotrib.com/blogs/entertainment_in_waco/austin-memorial-set-for-artist-bob-daddy-o-wade/article_c0614741-64d7-5ef6-aad5-26e292c40065.html