The PopCulteer
December 11, 2009

Big Ole Art

It’s a short PopCulteer this week as a minor case of pneumonia has infiltrated your loyal blogger. Yet, I have dragged myself from the sick bed to not only produce yet another episode of Radio Free Charleston, but to present this week’s delayed Monday Morning Art as the PopCulteer column. Last week I presented my critique of Albert Paley’s “Hallelujah” sculpture, which is now parked in front of The Clay Center, to the consternation of many patrons of the arts.

Because I hate to criticize without offering some sort of constructive criticism, I will now present four ideas I have for a large sculpture to go in front of The Clay Center, and I invite Mr. Paley to pick at, criticize and ridicule my suggestions, should he so wish.


It’s not the most original idea, but I like the idea of huge arms protruding from the ground. In the final version of this, should any idle rich people be stupid enough to give me the cubic ton of money it would take for me to do it, the fingers would be more open, and less like a “howdy” wave, and the ground would look like it was bursting open.

“Favored Son #1”

Okay, I know that this might not be the most cultural of ideas, but at least we could get the Schoenbaum family to underwrite it.

“Favored Son #2”

Of course, the folks who own the trademark to Big Boy probably wouldn’t be too thrilled if yet another monument featuring their intellectual property is erected in town, so when the inevitable court ruling in their favor is handed down, rather than demolish the sculpture, it could be saved with a little re-sculpting and a new paint job. Lick o’ paint here, a few new welds there, and you have a giant statue of our own Senator Robert C. Byrd! Now people will be able to see the guy that all those buildings and roads are named after. Note that the hamburger has been replaced with a sizable slab of pork.

“The Coolest Thing In The World”

Well, to be honest, the coolest thing in the world would be a statue of the Lost In Space Robot driving the TV Batmobile, but a 180-foot-high bronze sculpture of Gumby would have to be a close second. Imagine how cool it would be to drive along I 64 from the West, hit the Fort Hill bridge, and suddenly see a giant, gleaming Gumby looming over the skyline. Art Clokey’s ambassador of joy would draw fans from around the world. I’m sure we could get Maestro Cooper to conduct the WVSO wearing a Gumby suit at least once.

Think of it: Gumby cartoons showing at the Electric Sky Theater, cool photos of a giant Gumby with a tiny West Virginia State Capitol Dome in the background, a governor who wears his hair in a style that reminds many of Gumby. Sure, some folks might question the idea of Gumby towering over the center for art and science in Charleston, but it’s perfectly logical.

It IS the Clay Center, after all.

Next week in PopCult

As your loyal PopCulteer is on the mend, keep your eyes open for our usual Sunday videos and Monday Art, plus our special Christmas episode of Radio Free Charleston with music from Molly Means, Todd Burge, Joseph Hale and Melanie Larch with Diablo Blues Band!