Sunday, August 27, 2006

Paul DiPasquale

Paul DiPasquale's Neptune, one of the pieces included in the second annual Richmond Outdoor Sculpture exhibition. There is something weird about Paul DiPasquale, he has a knack (intentional?) for making conservative, odd sculptures that get installed at sites that make them seem even more bizarre and subversive. Why is there a sculpture of Neptune, the God of the Sea, on a loading ramp in Shockoe Bottom? We are not near the ocean... so strange.

DiPasquale made the Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue. Monument Avenue is a broad street with a wide park-like median dotted with huge equestrian statues of Civil War heroes like J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. The last lonely statue on Monument is this one of Arthur Ashe. Look at that freaky thing. It looks like they are in a bird's nest - the children want the book like it is a worm and Ashe is going to whack them with his tennis racket. Plus it looks like it is made of stale dusty chocolate, here is a better shot closer to the actual color. Why are the children standing in a hole?

My assumption was that the Ashe statue was something that the city had wanted, and that DiPasquale was one of a number of artists who submitted proposals, but in fact it appears that the entire project was initiated by DiPasquale.

Two years ago - less than one week from the opening date of this year's sculpture exhibition -Richmond was flooded by Hurricane Gaston, with Shockoe Bottom hardest hit. Weather reports had called for some rain, but the storm that arrived was totally unexpected; I think five people were killed in Shockoe Bottom. Seeing Neptune in Shockoe Bottom now is so freaking scary and weird!! A reminder that powerful forces or events can suddenly appear and just kick the shit out of you. This statue is like a memorial to the storm, an offering of respect to appease the storm god.

Reminders were everywhere -

This is a jellyfish or maybe an octopus, bowing to Neptune from across the street.

Starfish and sand-dollars and barnacles...



Anonymous said...

Mr. B, the full size version of that Neptune -- 20+ feet tall -- is over at Virginia Beach, right on the boardwalk. It's a scream, it faces in, back to the sea. Pretty theatrical stuff. Reminded me of Ray Harryhausen flicks from the '60's.

Anonymous said...

this post was just so goshdarned precious like watching beaver and wally I wanna pinch your cheeks you cute little snuggly-woogims does poopee smell good in richmond too oh hamburgers

Anonymous said...

Too bad Salivador Dali didn't prevail.

Anonymous said...

That is the funniest observation. Placement is hard for classical figuration. today's architecture is just too mundane for the mythic.

Anonymous said...

what did you think of the rest of the show? I do not think the design of today is too mundane for myth, I think our mythology has become mundane... This is not neccessarily a bad thing, except when it results in bad sculpture... like the Arthur Ashe Monument...

Anonymous said...

very comical, love the thought, but are you kidding me?18 sculptors installed in downtown richmond, thousands of peoplewalking, and this is what you have to say?

Anonymous said...

this was just a post on dipasquale... i will post on some of the other stuff later.

beq - ah, dali. i hadn't thought of that.

anonymous 1235pm - what, do you think this is my fucking job or something?

friday 8am - meeting with guy who runs location of my next show.
friday 12pm - raft trip
friday 630pm - sculpture walk
sat 10am - raft trip
sun day - post on dipasquale
sun 4pm - wait tables
sun 1130pm - beer and bands at hollywood grille
mon 10am - wait tables

all travel by bicycle. why don't you hook me up with a car or a computer, that would be nice.

Anonymous said...

the better to serve you.

teamtruth said...


"very comical, love the thought, but are you kidding me?18 sculptors installed in downtown richmond, thousands of peoplewalking, and this is what you have to say?"