Tag Archives: sculptures

Party Gone!

Those of us who served time in the corporate working world are all too familiar with the often-loathsome office party – the annual end-of-the-year gathering where coworkers pretend they’ve loved spending so much of their time throughout the year with one another.  One good thing about working freelance is that I’ve been able to avoid such mundane bacchanalias.  But 2020 has allowed many in the workforce to evade the antics of business life.

At the end of 1999, executives at the bank in Dallas where I worked conjured up the bright idea of staging quarterly workplace assemblages to encourage team building.  This was also when the idiotic concept of multi-tasking had become forcibly fashionable.  In January of 2000, we were to gather at a restaurant / gaming house to have dinner and then engage in some kind of laser tag amusement.  Since it took place after work, I informed my manager and constituents I could not make it; that it would cut into my free time, which would only serve to aggravate me and not make me love them any more than I already didn’t.  I wasn’t the only one with the same sentiment.  In April we took off in the middle of the day to patronize…a bowling alley.  I absolutely HATE bowling.  Like golf, I don’t consider anything near a sport.  Any activity where people dress up in ugly slacks or short pants and consume alcohol at the same time isn’t a sport!  But, as Gloria Gaynor once bellowed, I survived.

In July, we gathered after work for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant.  Afterwards, we were to stroll to a local movie theatre and watch “The Perfect Storm”, which had just been released.  I had already read the book of the same name written by Sebastian Junger.  I would have liked to see the movie, but not right then, seated alongside my coworkers.  Besides, dinner and a movie doesn’t sound like a team-building exercise; it sounds more like a date.  Again I expressed myself and didn’t go to the movie, even though the bank was paying for it.

The following month all hell seemed to break loose, when the bank underwent a major management rearrangement and several mid-level managers (including mine) had their jobs eliminated.  So much for team-building!

Photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager obviously comprehends the uncomfortable nature of the dreaded office party and has captured its mendacity in a new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  “Farewell, Work Holiday Parties” pays homage to the drudgery of the working world and the demands it often imposes upon its minions who often spend more time at work than at home.  The exhibit features about a dozen sculptures that look eerily like real people when photographed.  They’re bizarre moments of debauchery and stupidity perpetrated under the guise of workplace camaraderie.  It’s a little bit of “The Poseidon Adventure” (a New Year’s party wrecked by a rogue wave) mixed with “Die Hard” (an office Christmas party ravaged by well-dressed terrorists).

Regardless, the images are certain to bring tears and/or smiles to many and a general sense of, “Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that shit anymore!”

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Glassed

Combining traditional glassblowing techniques and sculpting methods, Debora Moore forms incredible glass sculptures that resemble mossy branches, fleshy petals, and entire trees.  The St. Louis-born artist began by creating orchids with bulbous centers before expanding her practice to larger, organic forms.  In her recent collection, Arboria, Moore sculpted delicate magnolias, plump plums, and the lavender tendrils of the wisteria.

Moore likens her process to that of painting, where glass is used similarly to produce depth.  “The material’s inherent ability to transmit and reflect light, as well as its variations from transparency to opacity, lends itself perfectly to achieve desired textures and surfaces,” says Moore.

“Magnolia” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass

“Winter Plum” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass

“Winter Plum” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass

“Blue Lady Slippers” from Gigantica, blown and sculpted glass

“Wisteria” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass

“Wisteria” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass

“Blue Orchid Tree,” blown and sculpted glass

“Pink Lady Slipper,” blown and sculpted glass

“Blue Epiphyte,” blown and sculpted glass

“Magnolia” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass

“Blush Epidendrum,” blown and sculpted glass

 “Purple Lady Slipper,” blown and sculpted glass

“Paphiopedilum Epiphyte,” blown and sculpted glass

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In Memoriam – Francisco López Toledo, 1940-2019

“We add our voice … to those who struggle for the recognition and protection for their rights and cultures, because to the extent that we respect our differences, we shall build a life with more justice.”

Francisco López Toledo

Cocodrilo Rojo (Red Crocodile), 2009
El Perro de Olga (Olga’s Dog), 1976
La Madre de los Alacranes (Mother of the Scorpions), 1976
Libertad-a-Victor-Yodo, (Freedom to Victor)
Mujer Toro (Bull Woman), 1987
Rabbit Goes to War, 1993
Vaca Mala (Bad Cow), undated
Venado con Zapatos (Deer with Shoes), 1970
Kites with images of 43 murdered students at Mexico City’s Memory and Tolerance Museum in 2015

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Anatomically Correct and Socially Uptight

One of nine bronze sculptures by artist Jorge Marin in Houston.  Try not to look too hard.

One of nine bronze sculptures by artist Jorge Marin in Houston. Try not to look too hard.

In January of 2002, as the United States was still reeling from the calamity of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft became overwhelmed with a more pressing matter: two statutes of partially nude female figures in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice. Feeling undignified being photographed in front of them, he ordered one, “Spirit of Justice,” to be covered. At taxpayer expense, $8,000 worth of drapery shielded unsuspecting viewers from both of the art deco statues. These were the same statues that stood behind former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese in 1986, when he announced findings of a Department of Justice study on pornography.

In recent decades, social conservatives have associated nudity and human sexuality with pornography. The dysfunctional comparison has arisen again in Houston where Mexican artist Jorge Marin has – well – erected nine bronze sculptures of anatomically correct male forms in a park. Collectively entitled “Wings of the City,” the figures have taken up residence in the city’s downtown area. Houston is just the latest major metropolitan area to see Marin’s artwork; he’s exhibited his statutes over 200 times. They stood on México City’s heavily-traveled Paseo de la Reforma where millions of people viewed them.

But, to the easily-offended souls of America’s fourth largest city, the statutes don’t qualify as art; they’re pornography. Get real!

“It’s very inappropriate, seeing that they have a lot of kids here,” resident Trena Cole told the “Houston Chronicle” recently.

“I don’t know that it enhances the park,” another resident, Julie Griffis, who lives nearby, also told the Chronicle. “I don’t think it fits in with the theme.”

Other residents, such as Jim Thomas, don’t see any problem with the statues. “We see them as art,” he told the Chronicle, mentioning one of the most famous anatomically-correct nude male figures of all time: Michelangelo’s “David.”

College student Alan Lima pointed out, “It’s part of the body. What can you do? That’s the way you were born.”

Exactly! That’s how we’re born. There seems to be a growing sense of animosity towards the male physique in recent years. It’s gotten to the point where I often see young men wearing two and three shirts during winter and long pants during summer, while their overweight wives and girlfriends parade around in mini-shorts that make me want to call Green Peace about beached whales. Professional basketball players wear shorts so long and baggy they qualify as split skirts. I’ve heard stories of school boys who won’t shower in the locker rooms after physical education classes because someone might think they’re queer.

If the fools who think the statues are “pornography” could get proctologists to help find their brains, they might want to hop over to Houston’s rougher sides where people are dropping dead from drug use and gun violence. Visit a homeless shelter where children often stay and tell me again you think a nude male sculpture is “pornography.”

There’s nothing pornographic or offensive about the male body. I have plenty of pictures of my body. Videos, too! Oh, wait…that’s a different subject. Anyway, check out Marin’s work and try not to get too upset.

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