Art in Minneapolis - sculpture

Seven Corners

I did a few pieces of sculpture in the years 1960-62. Richard Randall and George Wright started a foundry where they cast bronze sculptures using the lost wax method. They did the first one for free. Moonscape might have been it. See a Flash movie of the Moonscape sculpture, in the round.

Another was a sculpture of a baby, just lifting head over a ball. The base was a piece of terry cloth dipped in wax. It won an honorable mention at the Minnesota State Fair in 1962. Selling it paid for the casting. By then I had moved to New York City, leaving several wax sculptures behind.

University of Minnesota

I had studied sculpture with Phillip Morton at the University of Minnesota. There we made life sized heads in non-drying modeling clay, working from a live model. We learned how to cast them in plaster. After that I made a sculpture portrait of my father that was a good likeness.

Thinking of it brings back the memory of losing it. A group of friends were helping me and my partner move. Afterwards, I couldn't find the sculpture of father. One guy said, "Whitey didn't make it." (I should explain that these were mixed African-American friends.) There were slightly apologetic but sly grins and intangible glee around the room. I was stunned. No other experience has so powerfully told me of the pain of ethnic discrimination. I couldn't imagine the depth of feeling that would cause my friends to laugh about the smashing of my artwork. I had no awareness of skin color issues. Suddenly I imagined how a stark white plaster, but very realistic image of a second-generation Swedish man affected people of diverse backgrounds, reminding them of very unpleasant experiences. Unknown to me, his slightly ironic smile was a grimace, lording over them. I didn't feel hurt because the violence was not directed at me personally. I didn't feel anger, just overwhelming sadness. At the time, a sculpture seemed a small price to pay for such great wrongs. How could I complain? However, part of me is still angry, because I was proud of the work and would have loved to keep it. Also I'm frustrated at being in a society that fosters destructive behaviors that should have no relevance to my daily life. I say "should", because my children still experience discrimination, which inevitably affects me.

In a class at the U, I also made a bronze figurine of a woman striding forward.

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