The Vader Project: Mannequin Skywalker
May 16, 2010 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Sort of a double?
posted by hippybear at 9:20 AM on May 16, 2010

That's more Vader than the law allows, folks.
posted by jquinby at 9:43 AM on May 16, 2010

These really belong out on the street, like those local mascot/state symbol painted things you see around like the Mr. Potato Heads in Idaho and the lobsters in Maine. I'd link to some examples but apparently I can't find shit on the internet today.
posted by marxchivist at 9:45 AM on May 16, 2010

Some of them remind me of For the Love of God.
posted by brenton at 9:51 AM on May 16, 2010

Okay, as an artist, I do not understand these customize-a-mass-produced--life-size-fiberglass-sculpture "art" projects. I think they were dreamed up by a fiberglass molding company, to increase sales. In my local area in Iowa, there have been far too many of these projects. They had a bunch of fiberglass cows customized then distributed throughout town, then the couple from Grant Wood's painting American Gothic was dressed and "re-imagined" (gak), then a particularly hideous project with like 200 copies of the ugly local university sports mascot, Herky the Hawk. Ugh. It got to be so ridiculous that a local artist collective started their own customization project, they issued standardized 2x2 foot plywood slabs. Ha.
So just what is the deal with this sort of crap? How and where did it start? And why the hell does anyone think this is a good idea? With all the money spent on crap public art projects like this, the public would benefit more by spending the money on real art.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:55 AM on May 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

The concept of "cow parade" has its origins in Z├╝rich, Switzerland, in 1998 by artistic director Walter Knapp, it is based on an idea which was realised in the same city for the first time in 1986: Lions as the symbol of Zurich were painted and then on display throughout the city.

People like them because they're not art, they're arts and crafts. They're decoration and they don't offend anyone. Except for David Lynch's I guess. Anyway I agree, they're kind of stupid.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:23 AM on May 16, 2010

In this area, Spokane had bears and I think Coeur d'Alene had moose. They were both temporary public art installations around the city (each blank fiberglass animal was decorated by a different artist or artists or even organization), and then they were sold off at auction individually to raise money for charity. Some of them disappeared altogether from public view, others were moved into building lobbies and new locations around the city.

I thought it was a pretty great thing, actually. It pulled people downtown who normally wouldn't venture there, both locals and tourists (don't ask me why people avoid downtown Spokane -- it's lovely, safe, and well-kept), and it provided a texture to daily life for a few months which I found charming.

I don't know how other communities are doing it, but as far as I know, none of the money spent on the projects in this area was public funds for public art.
posted by hippybear at 10:41 AM on May 16, 2010

Rhode Island had giant Mr. Potatoheads, each one sponsored by a different local organization. The sponsors still are quite proud of them, and display them prominently in front of their place of business.

Yes, RI is a very weird place.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:07 AM on May 16, 2010

Upon reflection, I think I know one of the earliest of this sort of project. Here comes another longwinded story from charlie don't surf.. involving surfing. This is why I don't surf.. it's too political.

Back around 1986, an LA environmentalist charity (Surfriders, I think) set up an art project. They gave local artists surfboard blanks and asked them to paint them, and they'd be put on exhibit and auctioned to raise money for environmental causes. Someone wrote a Letter to the Editor of the LA Weekly, criticizing the project for being anti-environmental because it used non-recyclable plastic and fiberglass that would eventually end up broken while surfing and end up in a landfill.

The manager of my loft building (a local C-list artist) was in the project. He saw the LA Weekly letter and went insane. He accused me of writing it (I didn't, but I agreed with it) because I had previously argued with him about the stink of the toxic solvents he used, how much fiberglass and polyurethane foam waste he created in his regular artworks, and particularly how he dumped his waste paint down the storm drains since he didn't have a sink in his studio. He accused me of trying to ruin his reputation (despite the letter not mentioning anyone by name). Now this charity was putting little logos on all the storm drains in town, "No Dumping, drains directly to the ocean," and one of their artists was pouring toxic waste into these storm sewers.

I told him I had nothing to do with it, and he better back off. He didn't. He started sabotaging my loft (like turing off the water at random times) and even left death threats on my answering machine. OK, I had enough. I made two phone calls. One to Surfrider, explaining how their artist was dumping toxic waste into the sewers (and thus the ocean). He was ejected from the project. Then I called the cops. They took the death threats very seriously and arrested him. End of problem.

Now aside from any personal disputes with this sort of project, I feel that these sort of ephemeral art projects DO end up as waste in landfills, and the money would be better spent on permanent art installations. I would gladly trade a month of stupid cow displays for one really good public sculpture that would last a hundred years.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:35 AM on May 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

Wow, don't piss off an artist. And I thought gun nuts were a pain.
posted by localroger at 11:54 AM on May 16, 2010

Well, to be more specific, be careful not to piss off a mentally unstable, aging, has-been artist whose work isn't selling, who just lost his gallery and representation and is behind on his mortgage payments, and he thinks you sabotaged his comeback. This is easy to do without doing anything, if you're a young up-and-coming artist, which alone is sufficient to make him insane.

This sort of thing happens all the time. I remember one of Matt Groening's "Life In Hell" comics in the LA Weekly from about that time. It was entitled "How to Piss Off An Artist" and one of the suggestions was "be an artist."
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:09 PM on May 16, 2010

elephant parade london 2010 and my favourite taxi elephant (pix pix pix)
posted by infini at 12:27 PM on May 16, 2010

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