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Tag: sculpture

How much is that balloon dog at the auction? Would you believe $55 million?

orange dog

Chances are you could find an unemployed party clown who would make you a balloon dog for a pretty reasonable price, if not for free.

Or you could buy this one — for $35 million or so.

Artist Jeff Koons has made five “Balloon Dog” sculptures over the years, but this one — his first — will be auctioned off by Christie’s in November. “Balloon Dog (Orange)” has an estimated price tag between $35 million and $55 million.

And if you think that’s too hefty a price to pay for a 12-foot, stainless steel sculpture of a balloon dog, consider this: Koons, while he conceives his works, often doesn’t do the actual hands-on work himself, relying instead on a team of assistants.

Koons set a personal record last year when his sculpture, “Tulips” sold for $33.7 million at Sotheby’s.

“Balloon Dog (Orange)” is being sold on behalf of the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, Connecticut. Proceeds from the sale will be used to help fund future activities of the foundation, according to ABC News.

It is one of five metallic dog pieces produced by Koons. The other dogs are yellow, blue, magenta and red and are owned by wealthy businessmen who, we’d guess, probably don’t have time for real dogs.

On its website, Christies calls the work ”one of the most recognizable images in today’s canon of art history…

“This monumental work, with its flawless reflective surface and glorious color, is the most beloved of all contemporary sculptures. Its spectacular form has been celebrated around the world, having graced the rooftop of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venice’s Grand Canal, and Versailles Palace outside Paris. It has become an icon of Popular vernacular, adored by the public and collectors for its unabashed celebration of childhood, hope and innocence.”

If a symbol of unabashed innocence isn’t worth $55 million, what is?

(Photo: Christies.com)

Dog-killing artist gets monster commission

Sometimes artists can sink as low as … well, NFL quarterbacks and the designers of cell phone applications.

Back in 1977,  when he was 25, artist Tom Otterness produced “Shot Dog Film,” in which he chained and killed a small dog he adopted from a shelter for that purpose. The dog’s slow death is shown  repeatedly in the movie.

Now the Brooklyn-based sculptor has been commissioned for $750,000 by a mysterious donor to sculpt whimsical bronze lions and cubs as a gift to be installed outside the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.

Downtown’s Community Board 1, in a 23-7 vote last week, “wholeheartedly” gave the project its blessing, according to the New York Post, despite outrage from animal lovers.

Otterness is best known for his bulbous bronze people and creatures, which can be found at various locations around New York, such as at the 14th Street subway station in Manhattan.

In 2008, the sculptor apologized for killing a dog for his “avante garde” movie:

“Thirty years ago when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for. Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made. I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

Not everyone has.

“Otterness’ new work won’t be one that PETA members will be rushing to see,” Colleen O’Brien, a PETA spokeswoman, told New York’s Metro. “Any man who would adopt a dog and then film himself shooting the animal needs a good psychiatrist — not another art show.”

Portraits of Ace, in sculpture

Ace will clamber right up on a picnic table. He’ll settle on a park bench just like a human. And when it comes to public sculpture, he will –  with the slightest encouragement and if there is room — climb aboard as well.

So with no disrespect to the artists intended — actually quite the opposite — here are some photos of Ace, who is feeling much better, thank you, posing on and in public sculpture in Seattle.

Being, in my view, a work of art himself, Ace only adds to the artists’ works, breathes new life into them, and, hey, they are public. If they were fenced off, of course, we wouldn’t trespass upon them, I’m pretty sure.

Above and to the left is “Changing Form,” by Doris Chase, located in Kerry Park in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood .

I’d like to think that Doris, who died two years ago, would have no problem with Ace climbing into her 15 foot tall steel sculpture — that she and other creators of outdoor art would actually want people to touch and climb on and fully experience (except for peeing, which Ace didn’t) their works.

The sculpture consists of stacked geometric shapes with cutouts opening to views of downtown Seattle. (The view of the skyline from Kerry Park is a famous one, and also served as the view from Frazier’s condominium on the television show.)

Chase, a Seattle artist who later became known for her pioneering work in video art, finished the sculpture in 1971. The piece was commissioned by the daughters of A. Kerry, the benefactor who gave the city Kerry Park.

This donut-looking work is “Black Sun,” by Isamu Noguchi, a prominent Japanese-American artist who died in 1988.

It’s located in Seattle’s Volunteer Park, where tourists frequently photograph it with the Space Needle showing through the hole.

We managed to capture the Space Needle and Ace, who,  though he would have preferred a real giant donut, still eagerly approached and jumped up on the sculpture.

I suspect that doggy types will have no problem with Ace climbing up on treasured works of art, and that artsy types might view it as rude, and that doggy-artsy types will have mixed feelings.

But I would argue that art placed in a park — as opposed to behind a glass case in a museum — is meant to touch, and be touched by, the populace, and I consider dogs part of the populace.

There was one statue Ace didn’t have a chance to climb aboard. The artist beat me to the punch. It already sported a canine – a coyote, to be precise.

This statue of a coyote standing atop a cow used to be in Pioneer Square in Seattle. It now calls a sidewalk in Kirkland home.

It was the first statue cast by artist Brad Rude — a Montana born artist who grew up in Walla Walla and attended Maryland Institute College of Art.

He sculpted the life-sized cow and coyote in plaster while working at a foundry. When he asked the foundry owner for a raise, the owner volunteered to cast the cow and coyote in bronze.

Some people find the concept odd — a cow with a coyote standing on his back.

But it makes perfect sense to me.

Gory details: Will this poop song go viral?

Gory Bateson and Dougie Mac chose what they call “the famous dog poop sculpture in Beverly Hills” to record this “public service announcement” — a musical reminder to pick up your dog’s poop.

The sculpture isn’t really of dog poop (though there is some resemblance), it’s just modern art.

Similarly, “Gory Bateson” isn’t really Gory Bateson – he’s a modern-day artistic creation, as well.

Gateson is the internet persona of Nick Trujillo, a California State University, Sacramento, communications professor  who, a la Spinal Tap, established an alter ego as the burned out former lead singer of the mythic band The Ethnogs.

It’s all aimed at exploring how viral media works — how popular sensations emerge within the new media landscape. Trujillo has posted more than 70 videos on YouTube under the guise of Gory in hopes of seeing the character go viral.

Gory said he was inspired after he happened by the silver sculpture ( “Erratic,” by artist Roxy Paine, on Santa Monica Boulevard, across from Beverly Hills City Hall). “It looked like dog poop to me. I had dogs for 25 years so I tend to see the world in dog terms.”

Gory points out that he was not paid by Beverly Hills to make the announcement, but undertook it on his own, with his fellow Ethnog, ”Dougie Mac” (who’s really Dr. Bob Krizek, a professor of communication at St. Louis University.)

The song may be a fake public service announcement, performed by a made-up characters, in front of a sculpture that’s open to interpretation, but its message, Gory says, is real:

Pick up that poop.

Atlanta’s airport adds a dog park

atlantaairportAs part of its new ground transportation center, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has opened its first dog park — a place for traveling pets to get a little romp time before and after flights.

Originally slated to be open green space, the idea evolved into a dog park, according to the airport’s website.

“This seemed to be a good step forward to serve our customers traveling with dogs and our customers wanting to enjoy the flowers,” said Kathryn Masters, project manager for the dog park.

The fenced, 1,000-square-foot area on the south end of the ground tansportation center contains rock as well as grass, benches,  biodegradable bags for pet waste and even some artwork, though this particular scrap metal sculpture looks like an accident waiting to happen. (That’s not a comment on its artistic value, just on what appear to be its sharp edges.)

Only two dogs are allowed at a time because of the area’s size, but owners can let dogs off leashes.

(Photo from Atlanta-airport.com)

The city of rawhide chews

Here’s some art one can sink their teeth into, especially if they happen to be a dog.

Beijing artist Liu Wei has constructed a massive city entirely out of dog chews.

More photos of his work can be seen on the website of the Saatchi Gallery in London, where Liu is part of an exhibit opening this week.

The gallery website describes this work, “Love it! Bite It!” as a “parody of grotesque consumption,” a “utopian vision” (especially if you’re a dog) that “re-engineers the breadth of Western history — from the Coliseum to the Guggenheim — as carnivorous spectacle.”

Liu’s other sculptures include “Indigestion II,” a monumental poop that spans two meters. The website describes it as “a man-sized statement of rejection … both repulsive and compelling … leaving no detail to the imagination.” (On close inspection, half digested kernels can be spotted.)

The exhibit of works by Liu and other proteges of Charles Saatchi, known as the Young Chinese Artists, opens Thursday at Saatchi’s four-story gallery in London.

(Photo: A gallery assistant views Love It! Bite It!  Photo by Clara Molden, via Dog Art Today )

Giant turd attacks Switzerland

A giant inflatable sculpture of dog poop — the work of an American artist, now on exhibit at Switzerland’s Paul Klee Center — was blown from its moorings, taking down a power line and breaking a window before coming to rest on the grounds of a children’s home. No, er, fooling.

The piece, entitled “Complex Shit,” was the size of a house, and had a safety system that was supposed to deflate it in bad weather, but the system apparently failed, according to the UK Guardian.

Juri Steiner, the director of the Paul Klee Center, in Berne, said a sudden gust of wind carried it 200 meters before it fell to the ground, breaking a window at a nearby children’s home. The accident happened on July 31, but the details only emerged this week.

Steiner said the artist, American Paul McCarthy had not yet been contacted and the museum was unsure — neutral, you might say — about the piece of art being put back on display.

The installation is part of an exhibit called “East of Eden: A Garden Show,” which features a collection of “weird and wonderful objects” in the center’s front garden. It opened in May and is due to run until October.

The center’s web site describes the show as ”interweaving, diverse, not to say conflictive emphases and a broad spectrum of items to form a dynamic exchange of parallel and self-eclipsing spatial and temporal zones”

No, er, fooling.

(Photo from Paul Klee Center web site)

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