Perfect Pedestal for a Car
A comment on traditional sculptural ideas
I was teaching sculpture at the University of RI although it was a studio class, I also talked about the development of sculptural ideas. When I was explaining Rodin’s Burghers of Calais and how Rodin decided to go against tradition and put the figures directly on the ground, not on plinths or sculpture stands. I started thinking about cars, how they are the sculptures of our time. They are an amazing composite of more than a 1,000 different carefully crafted pieces
Combined into one machine. I decided the perfect pedestal would be a water puddle. At Murray State
University I organized a performance. We dug a hole, filled it with water and put a car in it. Students volunteered to be the performer, or driver. It was a surprise to them how aggressive and angry the passersby were. I wasn’t surprised because when Chris Burden talked about his performance work “Five Day Locker Piece,” he said the students were combative and scary in his helpless, vulnerable position locked in a school locker.