What’s In Your Yard? Part 3
In part two of “What’s In Your Yard?” I included uber-artist Jeff Koons (who once was a guard at Chicago’s Art Institute) and an image of his much-praised “Balloon Dog.” It costs way more (millions more) than a concrete doggie from a garden center, but is it more fun because it’s bigger and heavily hyped by the powers that guide specific artists to stardom? Is it any secret that Koons has an entire staff just to pump his name?
But let’s face it, Koons has something interesting to say about our culture, a culture where art needs be entertaining. I mean, who wants to look at a boring bronze of Abe Lincoln gazing at Milwaukee, or worse yet, legions of heroes on horses? His “Balloon Dog” epitomizes memories of childhood parties, bigger-than-life cartoons and other, mostly good stuff. But Koons’ work has a dark underside if you think about it in depth.
I keep thinking of the creepy clowns who perhaps are pedophiles; you know, those perverts who show up at kiddie birthday parties where they twist rubber balloons into fat, fantastic shapes while in full disguise.
So while you’re thinking about what’s in your yard, or what’s in our public spaces, why not sit your buns on an artsy bench? Milwaukee has quite a few handmade benches in the area of Prospect & North Avenue, plus there is a public sculpture in South Shore Park that doubles as a bench for gazing at the lake. Jimmy Von Milwaukee sent me an image of a Monarch Butterfly Garden Park Bench (it’s on Craigslist) designed by a chap in Rock ford, Illinois. And if you visit Whitnall Park (Boerner Botanical Gardens), you’ll see a ton of lawn stuff, including the work of Riverwest artist Marina Lee who was commissioned to sculpt a butterfly (“Wood Nymph”) for their expansive greens.
I spotted the ugliest bench ever when I was driving around Bayside in search of word fodder. Fashioned of concrete, each end of the bench is embellished with the head of an elephant. It gets worse. The designer pointed the trunk of each elephant slightly skyward, and voila, a cup holder is born at each end of the pachyderm nose hose. Hideous, but it could be charming if set in the right site at our zoo. I’m just saying.
In closing, let me mention that local artist Von Milwaukee (along with artist Matt Fink) mounted a yard ornament exhibit a few years back. I participated in the thing. My artsy offering was a small poodle of concrete (discovered at Goodwill). I painted it electric blue. Among the more memorable ornaments at that Leo Feldman Gallery soiree were Charlie Manson yard signs by local artiste Fink. Here’s an image of Von Milwaukee holding another one – a confederate duck. In the background is Milwaukee’s worst public sculpture… Homage to Postal Workers.
What’s in your yard? Post a picture of it when you comment on this article. Next up? A big fat story about the stellar art in Von Milwaukee’s Chalet On The River apartment.