Gary's Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida by John Margolies
8"x10" ($24) | 11"x14" ($60) | 16"x20" ($240) | 24"x30" ($800)
When it comes to summertime confections, no treat can compete with the milky, melty queen of of the season: ice cream. Since we’re approaching this year’s last stretch of guaranteed super hot sunshine, it only seems right to go out on a sugar high note. Make a pit stop at Gary’s Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida, the newest—and by far most mouthwatering—addition to our collection of vintage images by famed American photographer John Margolies.
Gary’s Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida is Margolies’ seventies homage to the beautifully low-brow novelty architecture of the fifties. Though Margolies shot it in 1979, the creamery opened in 1950, and its exterior had remained mostly unchanged (though worn with love) in the 30 years between. Margolies had a soft spot for the vernacular and novelty architecture dotting the United States, and saw these quirky, charming, idiosyncratic structures as woefully neglected cultural treasures. He turned his lens to the regional constructions that reflected their respective locales, and all sorts of beautifully bizarre mimetic buildings—a huge pair of dice on a mini-golf course, a Shell gas station shaped like a clam, two giant ice cream cones hovering over Gary’s Ice Cream, calling passing travelers to temptation.
These whimsical creations cropped up post-World War II, when suburban life boomed, paved roads multiplied, and roadside businesses sought ways to rope in passersby. The availability of new materials and techniques meant the proliferation of playfully eccentric, free-form structures with a primary purpose of elaborate enticement. As the style spread, it was criticized as tacky, florid, gauche—a rather popular point of view Margolies vehemently opposed. He saw this style as a far better bearer of the story of 20th century America than canonical works that weren’t hitched to a moment in time or everyday experience. His appreciation for this architecture is what inspired him to criss-cross the country, camera in-hand, driving more than 100,000 miles over the course of his 30+ year career to capture images like Gary’s Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida.
Whether you’re a cup or a cone kinda person, Gary's Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida satisfies. It’s everything we love in a Vintage Edition. It’s irresistibly appealing on its own, but cozied up to some historical context it becomes an even more integral addition to an art collection. The bygone roadside site Margolies magnifies in this photograph isn’t just a sweet art treat—it’s a time capsule.
With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200