The Sculpture

My earlier post about bridges told the story of the cedar fence post prompted questions about the sculpture of which it was a part. It was an earth sculpture which means it wasn’t a permanent piece of art. It was part performance. Assembling it meant I dug three post holes in front of the fine arts building on the campus of my college, set up a For Sale sign and strung plastic flags around the whole shebang.

The sculpture was meant to represent the last open space remaining in America. Unfortunately, I was 18 and didn’t know how the world works. The president of the college began getting phone calls about whether the college was for sale. The trustees called. Everyone called. That poor guy (who did look a little like a dolphin, but not his fault) called me into his office. He was furious. “Do you know what you’ve done? Take that down!!!”

I didn’t think I should have to take it down. I argued. I told him what the sculpture meant. He said [which grownups were prone to saying in those days (these days?)] “That is neither here nor there. You’ve made big problems for the college with that thing.”

I went to take it down, and all that remained was the ONE cedar fencepost, the crooked one. It was due the next day, so, when the teacher came out to grade it, there was nothing but three holes in the ground. All-in-all a very very very powerful and effective statement if you looked at the entire process and story, but to my teacher it was just three holes and it got an F. “What am I supposed to do with three holes in the ground? There’s no sculpture.”

A LONG dissertation could be drawn from this about the meaning of art, but I’m not writing it here.

The rest is history. So, I sketched it and you can see it (more or less as well as I remember it) in the featured photo.

16 thoughts on “The Sculpture

  1. I see, I see! Very clever of an 18-year old, but not so for the Prsident of the College!You’ve always been an artist, for better or for worse!

    • I didn’t even get a passing grade on it because when it was time to “turn it in” there wasn’t anything there but 3 holes in the ground. It was a total loss except for the experience. 😀

      • Oh, dear — I think you passed with a large A+ — you certainly came up with something that made a statement, and created a reaction (probably not the reaction you wanted). If only protests could be that simple these days! Is it time to get out the “pussy hats” again?

  2. He did not understand Conceptual Art. For a moment I thought about you standing among the holes wearing the banners and sign. Then I realized that would have said Something Else Entirely.

  3. Hehe! I think it makes quite a statement! Probably not the one you intended but that’s how art is. Every viewer has their own interpretation. Sadly the President’s take on the sculpture wasn’t favorable…

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