In class the other day, we began discussing sculpture in Canada. Two different pieces by well-known sculptors are on the Mount Allison campus and we discussed how the sculpture interacts with it’s surroundings and how sometimes, a commissioned sculpture interacts and plays off of it’s surroundings. This got me thinking about sculpture in our everyday lives. Certainly, art surrounds everyone to some extent, whether they realize it or not. Formal family photos in frames, your great-grandmothers hand painted china, even handcrafted bracelets and earrings can all be considered art in their own unique way. Sculpture, however, I found was more pressing to find examples of in our everyday life. And then I remembered our neighbours who lived at the end of our street when I was growing up. They have lots of money (as in they own a helicopter and a Jaguar sports car. This type of dinero is extremely out of place with Terrace, BC). And their yard, in the summer, was filled to bursting with lawn decorations. I wish I could post pictures of this yard. I recall counting over 30 plastic gnomes in their front yard alone, along with countless other frogs, lizards, a family of deer, you name it. It was actually ridiculous. And their house was quite nice, but their yard was just cluttered with these mass produced, rubber/plastic animals and decorations.
Why do people choose to adorn their gardens and yards with mass produced pseudo sculpture? The more I think of it, the more examples I can come up with. I’ve seen another house that has a hideous fountain of a mermaid and a dolphin in it. Or even “rustic” decoration like stone birdbaths or sundials. Why do people choose to put these features into their yards? They are almost always mass produced pieces, and I believe are supposed to be there for the aesthetic of the garden, not to serve any real purpose. However, gardens and yards with these objects in them are usually quite far from being appealing. Though I do not deny that there is some form of artistic merit here. Don Featherstone invented the pink flamingo, which is one of the most recognizably tacky lawn ornaments. He was awarded the 1996 Nobel Art Prize for his design!
Though I don’t have any photos of my own, here are a few choice ones pulled from Flickr and Google Image search.
What do you think about lawn decor? Good, bad, ugly? Let me know in comments!