Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rubbing the mastondon's member

The video doc I've been working on for the past year or so involves a local artist who was commissioned by the Oklahoma Centennial committee to sculpt a 16 ft. tall bronze of a relatively famous Oklahoman.

The intended placement of the final work of art is to be at a main crossroads in our small town's historic downtown.

From the conception stage on, I've been pushing for the Artist to include one part of the figure that was easily accessible from ground level.

My reason for this request was simple enough. People like to touch sculptures.

Witness Lincoln's shiny proboscis on his bust that sits watch at his tomb in Springfield, or John Harvard's gleaming shoe shod foot at the base of his statue on the Ivy League campus in Cambridge.

Throughout my limited travels here and abroad, I typically become an all-out tourist and in an attempt to feel more a part of the monument, burial location, sculpture garden, or attraction I'm visiting, I like to make innocent (and non-sexual...c'mon people, clean up your minds) physical contact with whatever it is I'm posing in front of for a digital snapshot.

Good to know that I'm not unique in this fetish and that some traditions, however silly they may be, would be a continued part of my sculptural visitation rituals.

Until today that is.

While C was at her art camp downtown making abstract art from recycled materials, I took PK down to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, where I encountered this bronze of mammoth proportions...literally.

If you're already theorizing which body part of the bronzed pleistocenic beast was rubbed shiny and clean by thousands of visitor's hands, let me make it perfectly clear, that this was a MALE mammoth.

I have a perfectly innocent picture of my perfectly innocent daughter standing under the perfectly innocent shiny gold member, but for perfectly innocent reasons I won't include it here.

Had I been involved from the get-go on this project, I wonder what discussions I might have had with the artist regarding this odd, but perfectly innocent touching -of-the-artwork tradition.

Maybe being an artist gives them the luxury of not worrying about such things.

Perhaps MC Hammer was the one and only artist that was able to say with any authority, "You can't touch this."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hahaha I have the same picture (though in our version my son is laying under the rasied foot). It just goes to show how unimaginative we are that it did not even occur to us to look at the . . . ahem . . . member.