Best Of 2001

Best Art Gallery in Someone's House: Albert Wagner's house

Inside an old East Cleveland duplex decorated with paintings of crying blue faces and a cross, Albert Wagner, a man with a long gray beard and an eccentric's rambling train of thought, lives with a few family members amid a thousand of his paintings. Roughly rendered, earth-toned faces stare down from every wall, looking stern, worried, sorrowful. A preacher who conducts services in his basement, Wagner reenvisions Old Testament stories, from Adam and Eve, naked and ashamed, to his masterpiece: a huge, beautifully impressionist painting of Moses leading countless Israelites across the parted Red Sea. His work is for sale, and a yellowed sign on the door invites people to come in and look around. Wagner does prefer that people call ahead before they come; good times to stop by are between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. -- except on Friday night and Saturday, which, Old Testament-style, he considers the true Sabbath.