While the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden's centerpiece, Spoonbridge and Cherry, is undergoing refinishing, it has been replaced with a "recent acquisition," Spoonbridge (before Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen) -- "an exact replica of the original sculpture's spoon bridge." At least that's what the sculpture's new descriptive panel now says. The new work, attributed to American artist Evan Drolet Cook (b.1984), was discovered by one Peter Englund, who emailed me his photos of the sculpture and didactic label. The label includes Oldenburg's famous quote about being "for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all," as well as a quote by aritst Maurizio Cattelan, and reads, in part:
Meant to toy with Spoonbridge and Cherry's undisputed status as an icon of the Twin Cities; a marvel that (like all sculptural icons whose image over time begins to stand in for the city's skyline itself, as the Eiffel Tower does for Paris, the Statue of Liberty does for New York, or the Flying Pigs do for Cincinnati) has inhabited the public's image bank for so long it has become frozen, like a picture affront the postcard that made it famous. By replacing the sculpture for a limited period of time with an exact but imperfect replica for a finite amount of time, it begs us to revisit the site and thusly rediscover the true icon's scope, importance and magic in the notable dissonance of its absence.
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Indeed, that seems to be how Englund discovered the altered label. Englund explained in an email that he was photographing the sculpture, but didn't bother reading the label ("who does? it's the the friggin' Spoon and Cherry after all"). Only when he dropped his lens cap, did he notice the culturejammed curatorial statement. "Appropriation to its logical end, it seems," he wrote.
Another layer of intrigue: Cook -- if he's really behind this -- is a gallery monitor at the Walker Art Center, which owns Spoonbridge and Cherry, and a former Film/Video intern and blogger at the institution.