Sunday, October 12, 2008

Art Lovers

I'm doing as much yoga as my body will allow, yet inner peace continues to elude me. I get emotionally involved in current events, and the ignoble behavior at the McCain rallies has me tearing up, ranting and obsessively checking my yahoo landing page for news. I am becoming an expert in right wing hate groups and the Alaska secessionist party (whose founder was a right wing hater in his own right). As they say in yoga speak, I need to get centered. I can't spend my days wringing my hands over the fate of our nation and the character of a goodly number of her citizens. The only antidote to this vast, existential big-picture worrying is focusing on something really small and deliciously petty. So I am going to tell you about something I encounter regularly on my hill walks.

The thing in question is a sculpture that recently landed in someone's front yard at a very prominent bend in the road. I think it's made of white sandstone (I'd have to trespass to get close enough to tell) and, counting the pedestal, the statue stands about eight feet tall. A stylized representation of a man and a woman locked in an embrace, it merges the couple into one sihouette, like giant conjoined twins. You can identify the male twin by his broad shoulders. The female half of this unholy fusion has a huge, paleolithic fertility goddess rump. The effect is Henry Moore-wanabe meets Baby-got-back. Tackier yet is the stylization of the two heads, coming together in the unmistakable shape of a heart.

Every time I pass this monstrosity, I cringe. Its size and artistic intentions elevate it beyond the status of your garden variety lawn gnome or pink flamingo. And yet it's every bit as kitsch. So bad, it's good. It's simple. It's corny. It has just enough subtext for the artistically naive - you may need a few seconds to pick up on that giant heart head. If Hallmark saw it, they'd pay off the artist, trademark the piece and mass produce it as a white porcelain music box that plays "I'll stop the world and melt with you" while the mutant paramours slowly revolve in an endless circle of love. Just picture the possibilities. Giant ice sculptures for celebrity weddings. Hand-carved wood copies made in the Philippines, perfectly sized for the mantelpiece. Vanilla-scented soaps - watch the lovers literally dissolve into your bath water - and each other. Hell, you could do a chocolate version - available in white, milk or dark to mirror your ethnicity. What a classy way to say "Will you be my valentine"!

If the world gets wind of this thing, it could be as ubiquitous as Durer's praying hands. I'm starting to think I should never have told you about it.

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