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On Tender Hooks
October 22, 2009 10:14 AM   Subscribe

On Tender Hooks - New sculptures by Beth Cavener-Stichter on display at NYC's Claire Oliver Gallery. (NSFW: tastefully artistic goat boners.)
posted by hermitosis (58 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, thank god they're tasteful. I am so sick of seeing the goat boner exploited for cheap titillation.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:17 AM on October 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


nnnnnnnng

"tenter"
posted by boo_radley at 10:17 AM on October 22, 2009 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty sure those are human penises attached to goats. The coronal ridge is a human adaptation to sexually competitive environments, and as far as my limited knowledge goes not found in goats.

You know, just FYI.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:21 AM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think "tender" is a deliberate pun, but I got a little twitchy about it, too.

I can take or leave the goat boners (yet another sentence I never imagined myself typing), but I do really like the way she's left some loose scrapes of clay on the otherwise fully-finished figures. I also love the sheer amount of physical work that went into the pieces.
The larger pieces I create take four to five weeks to complete: sculpting, hollowing out, piecing back together, re-surfacing, drying, bisquing, applying surface, re-firing, and creating supporting elements. Given the nature of the clay, these pieces involve a tremendous amount of effort, requiring roughly 800 to1,000 lbs of wet clay each to rough in and then take several weeks to hollow out. (see images of the Cornered Rabbit, Spanish Feral Meat Goats, Reclining Rabbit, Falling Boar, and the White Rabbit). In order to move the mass around, I use my whole body: striking it with chunks of wood, digging into the surface with the palms of my hands and my nails, carving away 20 pound pieces with wire, and slamming it back onto the surface. This massing in has to be done quickly, and it wears me out. I work in cycles with pieces like this - pounding away for 20 minutes, and then sitting quietly and looking, making small touches. I was unable to lift the largest sections of these pieces by myself, and required a team of people to help lift them back onto one another as the sculpture was reassembled.
posted by maudlin at 10:24 AM on October 22, 2009


I'm pretty sure those are human penises attached to goats.

From the artist's statement: "The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms."

So definitely, these are not naturalistic animal portrayals.

and I'm also pretty sure that the "tender" was deliberate...
posted by hermitosis at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2009


what
posted by jquinby at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2009


This page shows one of the large pieces being built in stages. Roll over the captions to see the sequence.
posted by maudlin at 10:28 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


TENTER TENTER TENTgggggggggggghhhhhhhh

Ow, Tasers hurt.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:31 AM on October 22, 2009


Why am I only finding out now that goats open-mouth kiss and have people boners?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:34 AM on October 22, 2009


Only un- and self-employed people are going to be clicking on this link. I don't need my coworkers to catch me looking at animal cock sculptures...

...again.
posted by Edgewise at 10:39 AM on October 22, 2009


Why am I only finding out now that goats open-mouth kiss and have people boners?!?

Because your sexual education was sadly neglected. Home schooled?
posted by fatbird at 10:45 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why am I only finding out now that goats open-mouth kiss and have people boners?!?

Imagine how shocked you'd be to discover this in a less tender way.
posted by rokusan at 10:47 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


MY SIX YEAR OLD COULD DO THAT
posted by everichon at 10:49 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Beth was a close friend of mine back in high school. She (and her whole family, for that matter) were always very talented in the arts. I'm happy to see her work make an appearance on the blue. I still have, somewhere in the depths of my closets, a sculpture that her younger sister made for me.
posted by rhythim at 10:55 AM on October 22, 2009


A good example of what you get when refined technique is used to express crude concept.

Fortunately for the craftspeople, art schools also train their graduates to write statements with the same combination of literary sophistication and conceptual drivel. These little missives are usually enough to convince the unlettered lumpen that the artists had meaningful thoughts in their heads when they were awarded grants.
posted by clarknova at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2009


Metafilter: tastefully artistic goat boners.
posted by yiftach at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure those are human penises attached to goats. The coronal ridge is a human adaptation to sexually competitive environments, and as far as my limited knowledge goes not found in goats.

I'm pretty sure you're wrong about the coronal ridge, but those are clearly not goat wangs. Goat wangs are sheathed.

For more accurate goat wang sculptures, google up some satyrs.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2009


So, are these hardcore or softcore tenters?
posted by jbickers at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2009


I smell a meetup.

Anyway, this is cool and I will check it out in person when dragging unsuspecting folks around the galleries for my partner's birthday.
posted by kathrineg at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2009


For more accurate goat wang sculptures, google up some satyrs.

Shouldn't that be GOOGLE GOAT WANG?
posted by maudlin at 11:11 AM on October 22, 2009


On tender hooks

Irregardless, it seems she could care less about the correct usage, for all intensive purposes.
This point is incredibly key.
And I am unanimous in that.
posted by Herodios at 11:13 AM on October 22, 2009


pretty pieces of meat. Going through the slideshow can give some surprising reinterpretations as you view more of the sculpture. Goat kissing => boners is one example of course, but 'Husk' turns out to be way more morbid than expected from the first detail shot. It may be my favorite.

I also like the rat with sticks in its eyes.
posted by scrutiny at 11:14 AM on October 22, 2009


Dear MeFi Anti-Goat-Boner Brigade: we already know your feelings on goat boners. There is no reason to repeat them in this thread, which is clearly for the fans of said boners, who think this is fucking sweet.

Thanks.
posted by m0nm0n at 11:23 AM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oddly enough, the link is not a double, but the "tender hooks" conversation is.
posted by idiopath at 11:36 AM on October 22, 2009


I was wandering the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution this summer when I wandered into the room where they were displaying Beth Cavener Stichter's i am no one.

Of all the things I saw in the week I spent at the museums, this rabbit sculpture was the one that evoked the deepest emotional reaction. When I saw it crouched in the corner of the gallery, I felt terrible for even looking at it; it obviously just wanted to escape, to be left alone, to cease to exist. I wanted to help it get away, I wanted to console it, I wanted to make people leave it alone.

I've seen pictures of her work since then, and I'm amazed at how talented she is. She anthropomorphizes animals to make them express human emotions more clearly than humans can. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work in person.
posted by MrVisible at 11:47 AM on October 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm always amazed by the wild mix of emotion evoked by art of painful/unappealing things that have been beautifully created.

These are amazing, but so many of the emotions expressed by the sculptures are painful ones.
posted by winna at 11:58 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fortunately for the craftspeople, art schools also train their graduates to write statements with the same combination of literary sophistication and conceptual drivel. These little missives are usually enough to convince the unlettered lumpen that the artists had meaningful thoughts in their heads when they were awarded grants.

I wholeheartedly agree. These works don't resonate with me personally, so it is obvious that the artist is an imbecile and everything she says in relation to her work is meaningless garbage. Also, anyone who would mistakenly think that there was anything redeemable about the artists efforts is a slackwit, an addle-pated poltroon, and should be locked away in the deepest oubliette. That way, their brainwronged opinions don't audibly leak out into the public forum and poison the discussion we intelligentsia are most likely having at the time, such as which Cinderella album had the best opening track.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:00 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, anyone who would mistakenly think that there was anything redeemable about the artists efforts is a slackwit, an addle-pated poltroon, and should be locked away in the deepest oubliette.

Hear, hear!
posted by clarknova at 12:05 PM on October 22, 2009


Thank you for your comment MrVisible
Because I was really not getting it. You know, why anyone would like this kind of thing, etc.
It's still probably not my thing, but your lucid commentary and description of your own experience with the artist's work widens my view.
MM
posted by SLC Mom at 12:08 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this!

Aside from giving us a novel mirror in which to view ourselves, I also think some of it is just tender and beautiful, like the gravity in the hanging Render, the very beautiful ears of Husk and the painterly quality of her hair.
posted by birdie birdington at 12:34 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you want fries with that, clarknova?
posted by maudlin at 12:51 PM on October 22, 2009


Sounds good. What's my total, maudlin?
posted by clarknova at 1:06 PM on October 22, 2009


FatherDagon was kind enough to gift you with the hamburger, so I would feel very bad about charging for the fries.
posted by maudlin at 1:09 PM on October 22, 2009


I actually think one of the of the most subtly evocative elements of technique is in the piece 'Render', where the legs are stained in a gradated fashion that ends suddenly mid-femur, below the post the fawn (or kid?) is draped over. I imagine the process that was used to achieve that effect is that the dye was in a bucket or something similar, and the legs were dipped into the bucket (or the bucket raised to the legs) over and over until there were different shades reaching up to that high-water mark.

Imagining that process while looking at the piece draws a natural leap to imagining it happening to a living creature, submitted to this abstractly uncomfortable industrialized procedure while draped over a post in a position of pathetic discomfort. Without actually portraying any of those additional artifacts of assembly-line torture, the work plays on their phantom presence as participants in this degrading process, all through a simple play of color and pattern that would otherwise be completely abstract.

At least, that's what *I* felt.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:18 PM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


A talented artist but I was glad I could close my browser and stop looking at her work. I found it disturbing, distasteful, and deeply obscene.
posted by bearwife at 1:21 PM on October 22, 2009


I found it disturbing, distasteful, and deeply obscene.

Thank heavens for good art!
posted by FatherDagon at 1:31 PM on October 22, 2009


See-Goat!
posted by chavenet at 1:54 PM on October 22, 2009


I like her technique. The look reminds me strongly of meringue, and the clean whiteness of it contrasts starkly with the subject matter.

I do understand and respect the anthropo/zoomorphizing of the human behavior, human experiences, human emotion depicted through the animal forms. But on the surface, it appears to be cruelty to animals, and that evokes a lot of emotions (horror, disgust, pity and rage) that make it difficult to appreciate the message artist is trying to put across.

IMO it's great art, but not all great things are good things.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2009


Goatboy is here to please you!
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:57 PM on October 22, 2009


Wow, these are really beautiful. I particularly like her rabbits and hares - their faces are so human, but so un-human. Uncanny valley territory!
posted by strixus at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2009


I found it disturbing, distasteful, and deeply obscene.
posted by bearwife


what
posted by Sys Rq at 2:00 PM on October 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


"brainwronged" is a fantastic word. ♪ Keeping! ♪
posted by everichon at 2:02 PM on October 22, 2009


On tender hooks

Irregardless, it seems she could care less about the correct usage, for all intensive purposes.
This point is incredibly key.
And I am unanimous in that.


Also, its an art exhibit, not an English exhibit. Her spelling is a mute point.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:05 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I absolutely love these pieces. I'm positive they'll be in the corners of my dreams tonight. (Keeping fingers crossed for no appearance of goat boners.)
posted by Kloryne at 2:11 PM on October 22, 2009


Dang. I thought this was going to be some sort of regretsy-like point and giggle but, dang, she can sculpt. Like a lot of sculpture (I'm looking at you, Michaelangelo!), I prefer the works in progress noted earlier.

I'd love to see these in person.
posted by stet at 2:58 PM on October 22, 2009


Irregardless, it seems she could care less about the correct usage, for all intensive purposes....
---
Also, its an art exhibit, not an English exhibit. Her spelling is a mute point.


It's getting to be like a cafeteria foodfight at the school for the blind around here, hidden burgers flying everywhere...
posted by FatherDagon at 3:05 PM on October 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


love

topic ???

artistry +++
posted by fistynuts at 3:52 PM on October 22, 2009


Well, thank god they're tasteful.

For that, you need to visit the penis restaurant in Beijing.
posted by binturong at 4:51 PM on October 22, 2009


Try their $250 penis sampler...
posted by binturong at 4:52 PM on October 22, 2009


What's this coronal ridge in layman's terms? The taint?
posted by Flashman at 4:56 PM on October 22, 2009


What's this coronal ridge in layman's terms? The taint?

Where the head meets the shaft. If there's slang for it, I am unaware.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:05 PM on October 22, 2009


I just got back from seeing the show, which just opened tonight. What's amazing in retrospect is how distorted my sense of scale was when looking at these pictures. It makes a powerful difference in person. For example, this one really does take up an entire wall -- it's just massive, limbs stretching out in space, so heavy. And the little pinwheel is hooked up to a jerky motor that makes it spin in little bursts, as if by the goat's breath, as if it's asleep or dying.

Also, this one that Father Dagon so beautifully described is shockingly small -- just about two feet high. It has such a different effect, it really draws you in. The creature is just a baby, it's so piteous.

One thing I also noticed in person is how all the animals are very prominently sexed. In almost every case their genitals (and even anuses) are plainly visible in a way that adds further comment to their character or condition. For example, it's interesting to see up close that this one with the strap-on bells/balls is distinctly female. It really changes the way you interpret other details, such as its facial expression.

And the goats, of course. They are so much more striking and alive in person, and so huge. You can definitely tell that the genitalia are human, and the lighter/darker ivory tones of the glaze really give it depth and life. The embrace is really amazing, their mouths are just fastened together. I find it interesting that while they're both fully aroused, their dicks are suspended fairly far apart -- all the power is in their kiss.

It was amazing to see people come around the corner and be caught off guard by the goats. There was so much laughter, but also a real fascination and sense of wonder. At one point while I was looking at it I realized I was standing next to a very old woman in a sparkly red blazer. We stood together for several minutes looking at it and when I finally sneaked a look at her reaction, I was interested to see that she was just beaming this wide smile.

I definitely overheard a lot of interesting remarks about each piece.
posted by hermitosis at 5:57 PM on October 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


PS: The horrible little blinded rat was kept apart, behind glass in the nearby office space. Which was sort of good, because it too is smaller than iI thought -- just about life size -- and even at a distance was just awfully wretched and painful to look at.
posted by hermitosis at 5:59 PM on October 22, 2009


I need to be in New York right NOW. Damn.
posted by maudlin at 6:03 PM on October 22, 2009


Chode?
posted by lazaruslong at 9:39 PM on October 22, 2009


Flare.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 AM on October 23, 2009


Beautiful work, reminds me a lot of the principles of animetaphor.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:02 PM on October 23, 2009


At risk of becoming a parody of myself, I'd like to present this self-linky interview with Cavener Stichter about her new exhibition. She was actually at the opening, and I have to say I have met few people whom I'd rather spend an afternoon talking with.
posted by hermitosis at 12:01 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


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