With Halloween long gone, I’m finally getting around to posting the results of the 2005 Staff Pumpkin Carving Contest. Craft and concept both factored in heavily this year. Third place went to the Education and Community Programs department’s Oracle III, a Halloween-themed oracle that takes its inspiration from Rich Shelton and Piotr Szyhalski’s Dolphin Oracle II, a digital dolphin that interacts with visitors to the Walker galleries. The arcade-game-sized box, outfitted with a hovering pumpkin on a video screen, could be fed handwritten questions that were answered magically (no, the oracle doesn’t want a beer).
Visitors Services took second place for Pumpkin (for Minneapolis), an homage to choreographer Sarah Michelson‘s September performance of Daylight (for Minneapolis), a Walker commission inspired by spaces in the new Herzog & de Meuron expansion. As in the original, this version featured pumpkin-headed performers situated near the Art Lab to be discovered (or not) by passersby: in an elevator with a constantly opening and closing door, on the ground as if asleep, beyond the glass wall of the Lab.
Top prize went to the temps on the installation crew. Using leftover concrete and sand from the creation of Huang Yong Ping’s 20-ton sand castle in the Walker lobby, they created Pumpkin of Sand, Sand of Pumpkin (above), which came with its own touring crate and stencil.
Program Services took their inspiration from a newly acquired work by Yves Klein called Suaire de Mondo Cane (Mondo Cane Shroud) (1961):
Chief curator Philippe Vergne describes the work, one of Klein’s Anthropometries, as “shroudlike paintings that the artist conceived by covering the bodies of nude female models–his ‘living brushes’–with ultramarine blue paint, which he named and patented as International Klein Blue (IKB). He then instructed these living brushes to produce body prints, radically challenging painting by conciliating it with performance.” The pumpkin version used not-so-living brushes, but the models’ expressions–look closely for the Turin-like face of a Jack-o-lantern–more than make up for the absence.
Other entries took inspiration from works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Takashi Murakami, Matthew Barney, and others:
PR/Marketing’s entry, which alas didn’t even place, was a nod to silkscreens of car wrecks in the Walker-organized ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA: Stars, Deaths, and Disasters, 1962-1964, which opens this Sunday. Orange Disaster featured a canvas filled with images of a horrifically smashed pumpkin along with the source material for the photo (a copy of the gossip magazine Uncensored from June 1968) and a Walker press release on the discovery of this new Warhol work. An excerpt includes a twist on a quote from Gene Swenson’s famous 1963 ARTnews interview with Warhol called “ What is Pop Art?“:
Commenting on the inspiration for Orange Disaster in 1963, Warhold said: “We went to see Dr. No at Forty-Second Street. It’s a fantastic movie, so cool. We walked outside and sombody smashed a pumpkin right in front of us, in this big crowd. And pumpkin pulp and pumpkin seeds were everywhere. I saw pumpkin pulp on people and all over. I saw in the paper last week that there were more people throwing them–it’s just part of the scene–and hurting people. My show in Paris is going to be called ‘Death in America.’”
Earlier: The (conceptual) art of pumpkin carving.