Artist: Victoria Fuller, American
Title: I Want, 2002
Media: Steel, acrylic panels, found objects
Dimensions: 72” h. x 77 w. x 5” d.
Location: North side of Delmar Boulevard east of Skinker Boulevard adjacent to the Pageant Walkway
Frozen in mid-step, a man grips the leash of a dog trotting ahead of him. Look again. This is not the expected cast bronze sculpture seen standing on sidewalks everywhere. Outlined by red steel frames and sided with flat, transparent, tempered acrylic panels the two figures are essentially see-through containers that give a clear view of the objects piled inside. Filled with tennis balls, the dog has a one-track mind while the man, filled with gadgets, tools and small objects used in everyday life, tells a more complicated story.
Located in the Delmar Loop, an area with small stores selling everything from shoes to musical instruments, I Want seems intended to mirror the consumerist spirit rampant in contemporary life. Yet the delightfully engaging man and his dog, each obsessed with the objects of their desire, convey their message by showing rather than telling.
In constructing her sculptures Victoria Fuller often assembles ordinary artifacts that she uses in unexpected ways. Sometimes the objects become construction units and are cast in aluminum but often she uses the actual objects as metaphors to support her theme. She wants to tweak viewers’ perceptions of themselves and use humor and irony to comment on society and culture.
To see another of her sculptural assemblages, visit the Brown Shoe Company headquarters in Clayton. Titled Shoe of Shoes, it’s a giant aluminum shoe composed of hundreds and hundreds of individual shoes. She likens her use of multiples of the same object to DNA.
Victoria Fuller is a graduate of Lorretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado where she received the Creative Fellowship Award from the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities. She received an MFA degree from the Art Institute of Chicago and works as a public artist and musician.
LOOKING AT ART
- What do you first notice when looking at this piece of art? Do you think it is making a statement about life? What would that be? Why do you think that?
- Is the Delmar Loop a good location for this piece? Explain your answer.
- Figurative sculpture often relates to the historical period in which it was created. How does this sculpture relate to today’s world? Explain. Look on the Regional Arts Commission web site and find the public art list. Find three other figurative sculptures from different time periods, the materials and processes used by the artist and why they were commissioned. Give a report to the class.
- The figure is filled with objects from around the year 2000. If the figure were filled with objects that were popular in the 1950s what would they be? Research and write a two-page paper comparing the lifestyle of a teenager in the 1950s to one living in 2008. You can conduct interviews for your research as well as use other sources.
- Imagine that you are the person walking the dog. Based on your observations and conclusions about I Want, introduce yourself and describe your values, beliefs, wishes and dreams.
- Imagine that the dog could speak. What would it say to the man?
SCIENCE, MATH AND TECHNOLOGY
- Make a list of the items that fill the dog walker. If those items were going to be recycled or disposed of in environmentally approved sites, where would each go? Research your answer as necessary.
- Using the information above, and in terms of the future, what conclusions can you make about the technology of trash disposal?
- Develop the character sketches from the LANGUAGE ARTS activity above into a one-act play with dialogue.
- Write a rap about I Want. Perform it for the class.
- Draw your version of the dog and dog walker as caricatures.
- Using cartoon dialogue bubbles, draw and develop a cartoon sequence featuring your caricatures.