Lame Adventure 348: Before and After

Last month, I either entertained or bored (depending on who you are) my dedicated readership of seven, when I took you on a virtual tour of the outdoor Saint Clair Cemin sculpture exhibit currently on display near seven subway stops on upper Broadway here in Manhattan.  For those of you that would like to take that tour click here.

“In the Center” in the center of the exhibit map.

Since I am a tactile type I have been known to run my hand over a surface, but I recall keeping my grubby mitts to myself when I photographed each work of art.   The sculpture called In the Center struck me as rather intimidating.  It’s an imposing fourteen and a half foot tall plaster of Paris, wood and metal figure in a gaucho hat holding a divining rod.  It’s so big it’s easy to feel like a dwarf when in its presence.

Before: “In the Center” under cloud cover giving me the divining rod.

A week ago, as I was approaching it, I was distracted from my regular go-to thoughts about sex and death while narrowly sidestepping a slow moving pigeon, when I did a double take.

After: “In the Center” under wraps under blue skies.

I thought:

Me (thinking):  Why is it in that huge plastic baggie?

Then, I looked closer and saw the answer.

Memo that arrived too late

Arm before.

Arm after.

I suppose the downside to a public art exhibit is some members of the audience, in particular those with the intellectual acuity of a small soap dish coupled with a lack of impulse control.   I don’t know who was compelled to climb it; possibly it was some dunderhead inspired to do chin-ups using the arms.  Or, it might have been a child that garnered parental approval when he or she needed to scratch the jungle gym itch.  Whoever it was I imagine that they had an audience and laughter filled the air until someone asked:

Someone:  Hey, is it me or do you hear something cracking?

Whoever was the culprit, it was not raining geniuses that day.  As for the progress of the restoration, In the Center remains under wraps.  In this state of disrepair, a more accurate name for it might be In the Bodybag.

It seems to be a very slow moving restoration.


65 responses to “Lame Adventure 348: Before and After

  1. Snoring Dog Studio

    My suggestion: Glue shards of glass all over the sculpture. It’ll keep the pigeons off and the philistines who think the world is their playground. And stop letting your brats run free in the grocery store! There.


  2. Snoring Dog Studio

    Oh, by the way… I’m honored to be one of the seven.


  3. I would echo SDS on both her points. I especially liked “In the Bodybag.”. I was thinking of Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley from the Naked Gun series when they try to make whoopee while wearing full body condoms.


  4. This is not the fault of the “dunderhead climber” as you allude to…..Smarty Pants. We have laws in place to protect stupid people who lack impulse control. This so-called Artwork is obviously made out of inferior materials and should be removed before someone gets seriously injured.

    What if the next climber gets so “turned on” to the statues obvious sexual overtones that they can’t control them self and attempt to copulate with it? This could be disastrous, just imagine the lawsuit.


    • First of all, welcome to Lame Adventures-land, Dave! Laws shmaws, this is New York, people pretty much do what they want, when they want and the rest of us pretty much steer clear. If anyone tried to pleasure him or herself with the diving rod, they’d have to at least be a Cirque du Soleil understudy.


  5. I does look like a body bag. Maybe a new form of art?


  6. “intellectual acuity of a small soap dish” might be the greatest thing I’ve ever read.


  7. Lame,
    My wife puts on a plastic bag over my head occasionally. I used to think it was because she loved me to death, but now I know better. Thank you.
    Le Clown


  8. Doesn’t everyone have the uncontrollable desire to climb when they see a work of art?


  9. Poor sculpture!! I remember a friend of Danny’s kid who we visited in Seattle. She bit holes in more than ten seats on the ferry while her parents watched. I was dumbfounded and couldn’t find my voice. I knew they knew so I felt I couldn’t say anything. Now? I would speak up…


  10. I’m with Fish Out of Water: “the intellectual acuity of a small soap dish” — excellent, and I have known some of them. I try to avoid getting myself into that intellectual space although sometimes I slip.


  11. Hehehe! — “…intellectual acuity of a small soap dish coupled with a lack of impulse control” — hahaha! I love that your ‘go to’ thoughts are of sex and death — yeah! You’re a woman after my own heart.


  12. I wrote about the genius of the soap dish line before reading the other comments — glad to see there’s a consensus on this!


  13. Knowing the residents of the UWS, they probably resent being told what to do in their neighborhood…
    Aren’t there about 70 bazillion schools right around there?


  14. Really??? Who defaces these works of art? Maybe the plastic can be incorporated somehow, that is until someone decides to do something to it.


    • Whatever scoundrel resorted to the mob-like tactics and broke the arms probably did so when no one was looking, Brig. If someone writes graffiti on the plastic, you can count on that being basis for another LA. I am stalking that statue.


  15. Hate to go with the crowd, but I have to agree about the soap dish line. Brilliant! Wish I could come up with metaphors like that.

    I’m afraid that my intellectual acuity today is in the soap dish, as well–and a small one at that. Isn’t it funny how you needed that word–small–to make the image be what it needed to be? Or, maybe not.

    Oh well, gonna go now.



  16. Plastic bags inch closer to art. I think you’re onto something with this whole bag thing, Lame.
    Great shame about the vandalism, though. Makes artists more reluctant to change their arm next time.


    • I suppose this is the site that is a home away from home for plastic bags, Kate. As for the damage inflicted on In the Center, I guess when art is displayed for free for the unwashed masses, acts of audience abuse can be expected. New Yorkers are not by nature shy about anything, but as a cynical optimist, I like to think that what happened here was more of an act of stupidity than hostility.


  17. With that plastic all over it, it looks like it’s getting married.


  18. The thing with people, LA, is that if you give them art, they will see a climbing frame. It’s a well known fact. It’s a pity they have to break things though… dunderheads (love that phrase!)


  19. Woo hoo …. I took your previous tour. No kidding on the double take. In terms of the break, here’s one for the dunderhead(s).


  20. I have yet to see this sculpture live and in person, but I think the bodybag is kind of an interesting addition. Or maybe they could call it a sculpture cosy.


  21. Love your post. Art..hmmm is often very indicative of life. We become broken in this world and then show scars but laughter remains, enjoyment abounds. and we climb on! Bloom on.


  22. Sex and death! hahahaha
    People are stoopid.


  23. That’s a shame–occasionally we have a similar problem in SLO, with some of the downtown street art exhibits getting defaced by drunken college kids. At least that’s what I assume. Maybe young unsupervised kids who really did think it was okay to climb on it.

    Any way you look at it, though, it’s a shame. Hopefully this won’t be repeated after the restoration.


  24. Another theory on the damage would be extremely obese pigeons roosting on said arms. After all, they are being fed remnants of Happy Meals, Krispy Kreme donuts, and assorted high-calorie delicacies throughout the day. Now, where they requisitioned a crane to get them up there I have no idea, but pigeons are known to be resourceful.


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