C Cleveland - George Zetzer

Saturday, August 24, 2013

This is George Zetzer.

George is a graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Art, one of the nation's leading independent colleges of art and design.  His work is on display at Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown, Ohio; Canton Art Institute, Canton Ohio; Massillon Art Institute, Massillon, Ohio and numerous private collections throughout the country.

For the past 40 years, George has taught art out of his home studio in Richmond Heights, OH, a suburb of Cleveland with a population of about 11,000.

George believes that "all people should be allowed to express their feelings in art regardless of ability, talent or circumstance."

Which says A LOT about George and his ongoing relationship with the city of Richmond Heights and his neighbors.

He's been a resident of Richmond Heights for about 30 years and for at least the last 20 that I can remember, he's been expressing himself through his art. On his lawn.
All OVER his lawn.


People are divided on whether this is art or just junk in his yard. The city says it receives numerous complaints every week about the display. His next door neighbor says that people stop with their children and take photos and that's it's just free expression on a  man's personal property. I think the  controversy likely started because his house sits on a main road and is passed by hundreds of cars a day.
Some have called it an attractive nuisance, a legal term for when a dangerous condition on a homeowner's property may entice children and cause them harm. The city has cited him on many occasions for everything from standing water to potentially toxic stuffed animals. I mean, really, how long can a stuffed animal stay out in the elements?
Here's the most recent photo of George:
Sentenced to spend 6 days in jail for a noxious weed violation.
Apparently, the city has had to come and cut his grass many times when he failed to do so. He ended up in jail for a contempt of court warrant after he didn't show up in court for the weed citation. He says he's being targeted for his artwork but if I didn't cut my lawn for a period of time and then ignored a court appearance, I'm pretty sure I would be sharing a jail cell, too.
He states that all of his art mysteriously ended up in his backyard when he was in jail.
I'm honestly not sure how I stand on this. Yes, it's free expression but it is a distraction and some of his "artwork" has blatant political, religious  and/or  racial equality statements.
Is that ok? Of course.
Does it belong in your front yard? I'm just not sure.
I guess I'm glad that the most annoying yard art in my neighborhood is this:

What do you think about George? Art or annoyance?


  1. They say art is in the eye of the beholder, so he's entitled to his own view. But OMG...it looks like a GARAGE SALE!!!

    I have to say in all honesty, it WOULD annoy me to have to look at that. And I think he should be required to at least keep his grass cut.

    LOVE the photo of him though - HA!

    Great post, girl!


  2. Hell-o Chrissy,

    This is a very good question for discovery debate over refreshing liquids. Not only is it a question of art, and property, it also is a question of neighborly relations. You remember your friends the Griswolds? I know there are people that detest Christmas decorations. And then again, we have people that leave discarded furniture, appliances, junk cars, and toilets about their property. As i said, yesterday, to a couple of friends that have been fighting a neighbor that made his property an illegal hotel, burnt garbage in the backyard, and so on, "Is he a h@**b@**y?".

  3. @Ron,
    I think that's part of the debate. How is a bunch of stuff seemingly thrown about considered art? When I was walking the dogs a few streets over, I passed a house with a bunch of metal sculptures out front. It might be the owner's work but it was done very tastefully.

    You make a great point. Why can't there be a happy medium that everyone would accept instead of him saying, This is how it's gonna be. F-U.

  4. Hell-o Chrissy,

    Where on Richmond Road is this boy? I thought i had seen most of the sights about town, or at least knew about them and didn't care.

  5. @S,
    The address is 515 (they listed it on the news). It's between Wilson Mills and Highland Rds. About a half mile south of Richmond Town Square.

  6. Again, Hell-o Chrisy,

    Yeah, i see the number next to the front door on your foto. I had driven by Richmond Mall, those other streets, Monticello, Anderson, and Trebisky for years. I never noticed, unless, well I moved in '99 away from the east side. He must have made the local tv, and the plejndjilar. Missed him. I see on a search engine, his death had been listed, and an home inspector put him up on youtubage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p4Jw7hMdGA).

  7. @S,
    I think he must have listed that death notice or something because it has a "reborn" date. Interesting video.

  8. Hell-o My dear Grasshopperette,

    You made me laugh, again. Did not St.Paul(or if you think someone else wrote Hebrews)teach us,that we are only born once? Maybe he's a Mason, they have a razing, and they're klutzily theatric.

  9. I know how I would feel if I had to live beside it but not sure where I would stand in a legal setting. We have that exact dollhouse he has hanging on the wall by Mickey. Never thought of it as a wall hanging. I have no artistic ability I guess.
    We have folks up the street that empty their garage(which is full) every month or so to rearrange it for some reason or other. It fills the yard. It stays out a few days before they get it all back in. They put a sign up saying, "NOT A YARD SALE", and we are highly disappointed. They did dig a Harley out from the pile this time and put a for sale sign on it. Not sure if sold or if we will see it again in the future.

  10. @S,
    I'm not sure what he is but he is unique.

    @Simply Suthern,
    That's so funny. NOT A YARD SALE.

  11. I live around the corner from this guy and I have to drive past his disgusting house every day, at least twice a day. It's an eyesore and embarrassment to the community, and it lowers the property values. I don't care if he has "art" or whatever he wants to display (to me it's very junky)... Your front yard is not the place for it. Start up a website and invite people into your house to see it.

  12. @Anonymous,
    Thanks for commenting. I wondered what they immediate neighbors thought.

  13. I have been alternately greatly amused and befuddled over the years, watching George's display evolve. I stopped to talk to him once when I saw him outside weed whacking his tree lawn and found him to be an a fascinating person. He is a holdover from the era of creating art with courage and ingenuity to express oneself beyond the safeness and sameness of acceptability and marketability. I delight in his creations and wince when someone refers to it as "junk," because it seems that negating his art is like negating the person. To me, it is like a breath of fresh air to feast my eyes on something unexpected than to experience the constant blandness of yet another fast food place or strip mall. I see displays creeping back and I can't wait to see what George makes next!

  14. @Anonymous,
    That's interesting that you had an opportunity to talk to him. I noticed more displays recently, too.


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