July 12, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

I came across this article over the weekend when Chicago Art Critic Jason Foumberg posted it on his facebook page. It interested me for several reasons, though most of them were probably guff-driven. I’ve always been curiously skeptical of those city-wide art drives in which artists are invited to turn a previously cast animal sculpture into an individual work of art. I’m skeptical because, while it is a support of art and artists, it is also very structured, such that (except in the case of the ensuing beaver) very little could be contraversial (or, one might argue expressive) about the resulting work. In other words those projects have the potential to placate the city and its inhabitants with a sense that it is, indeed artistically inclined–whether by Chicago’s cow project, or Knoxville’s teddy bear. Having said that I’m also aware that such opinions are interminably grumpy and that, really, a lot of people enjoy these animal creations. So, truth be told, I keep my place undecided on the fence. That said, I read one comment on a message board that remarked on how, if you make a project called “Gaea” and use a beaver as the shell, the yoni-spirit will certainly manifest in some form. You can read the entire article by going here.

Gaea the vaginal beaver returned to Bemidji Sculpture Walk

By Kevin Hoffman, Tue., Jul. 6 2010 @ 7:59PM


Bemidji City Council just voted unanimously to return a controversial beaver to its rightful place on the Bemidji Sculpture Walk.

Painted by artist Deborah Davis, “Gaea” is a celebration of womanhood and one of nine four-foot-tall ceramic beaver sculptures painted by local artists.

But when 20 people called to complain about what they viewed as a vagina on the beaver’s belly, City Manager John Chattin took action and censored her beaver from public view.

Davis wasn’t going to take that lying down. Supporters organized a Facebook campaign that attracted local and national press attention.

As the beaver went viral, City Council was forced to call a special session to address the controversy.

Gaea supporters came out in droves, speaking eloquently about the artistic merits of the beaver. And as of tonight, the beaver is back.

And there is also this hilarious and absurdly dramatic video:


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