April 28, 2004 - Ed and the Art of America
So where in Santa Barbara can you find the big black foot shown in the picture on the right? It couldn’t be Sakajawea … her statue is made out bronze. And besides, edhat already did an article on her. Could it be a women’s foot that edhat counted on a cold night last winter that was wearing open toed shoes? Nope, not even frostbite and blood constriction could cause such swelling and blackness. Maybe it is a picture of big foot himself who made lots of money selling the movie and TV rights to his life story and moved into a little Montecito Fixer on Alston Road. Wrong again. The big black marble foot can be found attached to a big black marble women who sits in front of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art hold a big black marble baby (who is strikingly naked, we might add).
The statue was created by Fernando Botero, a Colombian artist who is known for his smooth inflated shapes and unexpected shifts of scale. That is to say the statue of the woman and baby is not only very large, it’s disproportionately large as well. Her bottom section is much bigger than her top. As the joke goes, when the lady in the statue sits around the house … she sits around the house.
The Botero statue is part of the Art of the Americas exhibit going on now at the museum. And, the America that the museum is talking about in not just the America in “God Bless America”, but all the Americas – north, south, and central. The current exhibit shows identity, people, places, and things from the two continents side-by-side, not separated by geography as is typically done. And, there are many pieces that deal with the blurring of borders and the misrepresentation of identity.
Inside the museum, the featured piece shows two maps of the Americas. One map shows North America made out of Mickey Mouse stickers and South America made out of skeletons. In the other map, the theme is reversed – Mickey Mouse is used to create South America and the skeletons to create the North. It is not clear which one is true or which one is better … and that’s what the exhibit is all about.
The dedicated staff had the fortune of touring the exhibit with a group of teachers from local schools. The incredibly smart, enthusiastic, and articulate museum art specialists have created curriculum for the teachers to use in conjunction with bringing their students in for a museum visit. The teachers were invited to the museum for a first hand look at the art and for a discussion of the curriculum.
It seemed like a win-win for everybody. The art museum gets more patrons, the teachers get support with lessons, and the students get to be exposed to art, ideas, and thought-provoking concepts.
Many edhat subscribers correctly identified the location of the big black foot. We put all the names in a hat and drew Panda as the lucky winner. There is a bit of irony here. The art exhibit is about the blurring of boundaries, but Pandas are black-and-white.
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