Wednesday, March 7, 2012

G-String Theory

Yesterday, I unknowingly spent several hours sitting underneath a ceramic thong (wasn't that the first line of some novel by Franz Kafka??). In a nutshell, this is why I love my current neighborhood--at any given moment, you may find out that you spent much of the day in direct proximity to a scale-model ceramic sculpture of an uncomfortable-but-supposedly-sexy undergarment.
You see, I was enjoying a cappuccino and a delightful Small-Format Flour & Sugar Sculpture (a.k.a., “miniature cupcake”) at Cupcake Royale, my favorite progressive, womyn-owned gourmet cupcake retailer in the area. (As when discussing sex-positive womyn-owned purveyors of Marital Aids and Adult Novelties, around here, you have to be pretty specific about which one...) I did indeed notice that I was sitting under a shelf of ceramic knick-knacks Small-Format Sculptures. But because I’m short, and the shelf was high, I mistook the wee g-string (pictured below) for an interpretive, faceless version of an octopus, or possibly a squid. But thanks to the miracle of the Internets, I learned that it's actually a scuplture called "Victoria's Secret Spring," which is a bargain at $300. I'm not sure what's involved in making a ceramic g-string, but I bet it's a LOT harder and requires 100% more kilns than it takes to write about a ceramic g-string (which may be why you're reading this for $0).
Above: NOT a ceramic octopus! (via The Stranger, via the artists)
While I was nibbling on a delightful cupcake--the pistachio-lemon-balsamic-jalapeno-lavender-peanut butter, I think it was--a scruffy guy in his 30s came up and placed a small, bird-sized ceramic “Small-Format Statue” (a.k.a., a tchotchke) of what looked like a bluejay on the shelf directly above my head. He explained that it was part of a group show, which I guess is different from "a shelf with eight or nine tchochkies on it." It was pleasant-looking bird, and one that vastly exceeded my own artistic abilities. Ceramics are very hard to make. One time, at summer camp, I attempted to make a coffee mug; after it came back from the kiln, it looked like a very faithful rendering of a pile of horse droppings (i.e., like half the stuff you see on Etsy). Knowing the difficulty involved, I felt all the more awful about thinking that the bird-sized ceramic bird looked like something you might find on an end table in one’s grandmother’s living room, next to the Precious Moments figurines.
I wanted to ask if it was supposed to be a statment on commercialism, or kitch, or bluejays (or whatever) and/or an homage to the meta-kitsch thing that Jeff Koons, et al did in the 90s (wouldn’t that make it meta-meta-kitch??). But, it’s generally considered impolite to ask artists if they’re being serious.

I'm not sure what school of thought the ceramic g-string belongs to, but I do know that owning a ceramic thong is now officially on my bucket list (hint, hint?). Unfortunately, my birthday isn’t until October, so instead I’m going to have to dip some of my own unmentionables in heavy starch, and stand them up on an end table next to a Precious Moments figurine. I plan to call it “Victoria’s Weltschmertz.” Hopefully I'll finish in time to make it into the Whitney Biennial.