Monday, December 3, 2012

A "Toy Show" for grownups

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Douglas McKees Octopus Skateboard
  • Douglas McKee's "Octopus Skateboard"


The first hint I got that the Arts Center's 38th "Toys Designed by Artists" exhibit was a notch more mature this year was the fact that so many toys were protected behind plexiglas. There was no guard with white gloves stationed in the gallery to turn cranks and pull knobs and so forth, as in yesteryear.

My feelings were confirmed finally when I got to a case that contained small toys in silver, gold and copper, where I spied Miriam Saavedra's clever "Playing With Myself (Dexterity Puzzle Ring)," a ring set with labial folds and a little ball that you could make roll into an indentation where a clitoris would be. I could be wrong, but I don't remember the toy show having fun with vaginas before.

There is also a toy-turned-political-symbol, Joe Casey Doyle's "A Gay Boy Wished," which features the back half of a "My Little Pony" affixed to the wall with a long tail of pastel ribbons.

It's all fine of course — the show is toys designed by artists, after all. It's included several sardonic pieces in the past, including one I bought: A wooden crank toy in which a woman nods yes to a man nodding no, named "The Honeymoon's Over." A little anniversary gift it was. And there was the army tank made of concertina wire and razor blades, and the dead rat pull toy, wheeled feet in air, made of walnut. It's just a little wide of the traditional mark.

There was one toy that gallery-goers can play with: Elizabeth Barenis' "Freebird," a musical toy that when cranked plays "The Shadow of Your Smile" while a turning wooden object, lit by a small spotlight, casts a shadow of a flapping bird. I would also have liked to play with Kevin Zust's "Brass Rolling Ball Sculpture" to see if the balls really made loop-de-loops on their way to the bottom of the sculpture. And I would like to see if the little coffee cup atop a coffee can ("Wowzers!" by Gary Schott) would spill.

Rachel Trusty's "The Flock," first exhibited at the University of Central Arkansas, little wailing faces on stuffed cotton heads set on duck feet, is somehow wonderful. My favorite works in the show: Wendy Malinow's "Dirty Root Rattle," a polymer carrot/parsnip-type root with multiple eyes and teeth, and Douglas McKee's nearly 4-foot-long "Octopus Skateboard," which is actually a great idea for a toy.

The show this year is in the permanent collection gallery, but it doesn't quite live up to the honor, in my view. There is nothing exquisite in the show, as there has been in the past, though there are finely made things, like Bill Price's .38 Caliber Drake (a decoy with a pistol head, much like his 2010 entry, "Sheriff Rubber Ducky"), Chang Gon Jung's dragon "Pendant for Hoiw," and Dongwong Lee's "Chimpalloon," a silver chimp blowing a silicon balloon.

Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Gift Guide

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. This week, a gift guide.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • Advocates for the disabled object to Capitol gates

    Disability Rights Arkansas Inc. (DRA) and Arkansas State Independent Living Council (ARSILC) have issued a statement objecting to the new gates that will block entrance to the state Capitol grounds on the weekends.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

    The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
    • Aug 28, 2015
  • Guest Mix: Rural War Room

    World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
    • Sep 14, 2015
  • Your new flags of Little Rock

    BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
    • Sep 18, 2015

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Trump proposes an unconstitutional ban on flag burning, revoking citizenship

    Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, this morning made a public statement, via Twitter, that the flag burning should be disallowed by law: "there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation