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Toys that play with you 

SHERIFF RUBBER DUCKY: William Price's toy at the Arts Center.
  • SHERIFF RUBBER DUCKY: William Price's toy at the Arts Center.

The deck headline on last week's Art Notes referred to copy that ended up on the cutting room floor, in case you were wondering. The review of the Delta Exhibition ran so long, the review of the 37th annual "Toys Designed by Artists" exhibit was cut.

This week we make up for that, because the toy show, a creation of the Arts Center, has some great stuff in it. Like William Price's "Sheriff Rubber Ducky," a double-barreled duck that looks like it can shoot back — the perfect toy for the duck hunter in your life. "Ducky" won a purchase award.

Others of my favorites: Ye Seul Seo's "Please, Soothe Me," a beautifully-felted Asian doll whose arms move and make her look like she's wiping away tears when you turn a crank, and which also won a purchase award. Also Chance Dunlap's meat-eating plant "Tumbler" and another of his wheeled toys, "Refugee," a tentacled thing; they are weird, beautifully made sculptures. "Tumbler" won an honorable mention.

A toy that didn't win but should have: John Watts' "Don't Spill the Oil Board Game," complete with box (believably fabricated and depicting two startled children); game board; game money; oil drums, dolphin, turtle, fishing boat, sail boat, alligator and otter pieces and, in the middle, an oil platform. Stack the oil drums so the top one spills and oops! The gulf loses.

Undoubtedly the biggest toy ever in the history of the toy show (an Arts Center original): "SLIM," Brooke Foy's giant wooden unicyle made entirely of the branches of trees — a large forked limb supports the seat and pedals, the wheels are woven sticks, the spokes of shaved branches. It's nearly the width of the Jeannette Rockefeller Gallery.

James Volkert of Conway has cleverly reproduced Fragonard's "The Swing" on a small canvas and hung it from a brass structure that appears to have gears that will allow the painting to swing. Nice.

Like the Delta in the accompanying gallery, the show runs through Feb. 20.

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