Skewed Sculpture

May 16th, 2007 | Posted in General

The next two weeks leading up to Memorial Day weekend are going to be ugly, and I don’t expect to find the time to write too many meaty blog posts. The Dreaded Deadline Demon will probably be making a few appearances.

Last week The Lovely Anna and I took a grown-ups night off and went with friends to dinner at Chambers Kitchen in Minneapolis, after which we attended a benefit auction and concert for PACER Center, a local foundation that serves disabled children. Chambers is a new restaurant by famed chef Jean Georges, and dinner was excellent. I am sure Anna will be reviewing our experience on her Foodie Review Blog soon.

The restaurant is part of a boutique hotel, also called Chambers, and one of it’s charms is it’s 7 million dollar collection of original and unusual art that adorns the walls in the lobby, lounge, rooms and around the premises. I snapped these pictures of a sculpture that really fascinated me:



That second picture looks like it was distorted in Photoshop, but look at the tables in the background… this is an unaltered picture. The face is super-realistically sculptured but created as an optical illusion. It looks proportionate from the front but from the side you see it is squashed into about 50% relief. It makes you feel weirdly out of balance to see it… like you are in some surreal funhouse room. I forgot to jot down the artist’s name.

The rest of the collection is equally weird and cool. There’s a real bull’s head in a formaldehyde filled fish tank behind the lobby desk, just to name an example. Here’s a narrated slideshow about the collection and the main source of the art, a movement called “YBA” (young British artists). Just to show how fickle the art world is, the collector who narrates the show mentioned how the YBA are “five years old” or so now. He says now he’s going to look for a new fresh source of inspired art… I guess relevance and competence in art has a shelf life. Maybe they can start a new movement.. “MABA” (middle aged British artists).

UPDATE: pmcmichael tells me the artist’s name is Evan Penny.


  1. JasonSeiler says:

    Wow, that’s incredible . . . very awesome! Thanks Tom for stoping by my blog!

  2. hutch says:

    Hi Tom

    I’m not sure if it’s the same artist but it looks like a similar style to the artist who does oversized (and sometimes small) sculptures of people which are incredibly realistic. Take a look at this site for some snaps of one of his exhibitions.


  3. Tom, How bout a Sunday mailbag on the little things you do to a caricature to add age. Seems like when I draw older people they usually look younger.

  4. kmcnutt says:

    We had dinner at Chambers last week, and I agree – it was very tasty. The service was very good as well, I thought. (I had the grouper… marvelous! Just spicy enough to make it fun without overpowering the flavor of the fish.) I thought the sculpture of the gorilla out in the courtyard was cool, yet sad. It’s a fairly stylized gorilla with one arm laying in front of it, (presumably its arm, as he’s missing one…) and he’s just kind of looking down at it, like “aw – what the… now what?”

  5. pmcmicheal says:

    WOW…Crazy stuff The guys name is Evan Penny
    …..Far out.

  6. Tom says:

    Thanks for the info! I updated the post…

  7. Jonathan says:

    The oversized guy mentioned previously by Hutch is Ron Mueck;

    Indeed I’d have sworn this was by him when I first saw it.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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