Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hogs and Logs or the curious case of animal cruelty

some readers may find the photos disturbing and schocking- 
please proceed with caution

This is a tale, a true tale, of a sculpture recovery effort and investigation into an animal cruelty case. As many of my readers know, my MFA thesis is on display at the Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts SCULPTOURE 2012 exhibit. (Read more about that here from the Asbury Park Press.) Sadly, one of the pieces went missing, two were move, and one piece was knocked over. This happened some time within the past two weeks. Terrible pranks, I am sure, but really destructive. Doug Ferrari moved to Asbury Park to part of the art scene, not the crime scene. I suggest to check out  the NY Times article on his move. These pranks are isolated incidents which have nothing to do with SICA, and I will  continue to submit to SICA's annual SCULPTOURE show and would encourage all artist to submit to the show as well. No other sculptures were effected by this malicious behavior. As my professor and program director of the Moore MFA program, Paul Hubbard, said that this was a case of  "too much testosterone and too much idle time."
Matt Armstrong recovering the sculpture in an Asbury Park Peddle Boat
Anyhow, my friend, Matt Armstrong, decided to help out with the recovery effort. (His mother raised him to be a helpful and kind person.) We figured the vandals didn't really steal the sculpture - rather, in a drunken stupor, they probably tossed the log into Wesley Lake.  Wesley Lake connects to the Atlantic Ocean and has  an out fall pipe which prevents debris from entering the ocean. Matt speculated that the art work was floating near this pipe. This young man asked the Asbury Park Peddle Boats to use a pedal boat in an effort to recovery a missing log. The AP Peddle Boat folks graciously lent a Matt a boat and told him that they too have problems with the vandals. The vandals set the peddle boats free in the night. The owners then have to retrieve the peddle boats over the lake; if there are evening storms, the boats risk being severely damaged.

As he suspected, the sculpture was floating by the pipe that leads into the ocean. As you can see, there is a fence that keeps large debris from passing into the ocean. What Matt, Peter (my husband) and I saw at this fence was awful.
dead pig
First, the amount of garbage looked like something from a third world country and second, even more frightening was this animal. By the amount of hair on the pig, we knew the animal was not the kind you use in a pig roast. He was not suckling size - but more like medium dog size. The animal was probably tossed in the lake alive. There are no farms nearby for this creature to have accidentally drowned either - we live in the suburbs. Of course we called the police. Try explaining to the police about this one. I was asked three times to describe what I saw. The 911 dispatcher probably thought it was some joke and no kidding, it is a full moon too. I had to explain what I saw three times.

Clearly, the vandalism is increasing in violence over at Wesley Lake. Pranks like dumping sculptures and setting boat lines may seem like harmless jokes but I am sure that both SICA and the AP Peddle Boat business are frustrated with this kind of damage. But now with this animal cruelty case, the pranks have gone to a new level. Should the police or the local newspapers here begin to investigate, I am sure that they will discover that there are probably more of incidents of mischief along Wesley Lake that are occurring to the restaurant owners and patrons. As a resident of Asbury Park, I am hoping that the police will do more to  protect the interests of the gallery and business owners and start patrolling Wesley Lake vigilantly. 

As far as the rest of my sculpture recovery from that day went - here are some pictures...

Matt and Peter peddled the log to the front end loader. There is no shore line in the lake, so we needed something to lift it out of the water. As soon as they stopped peddling, the log dragged the boat back. It was a real case of ten peddles forward and twenty backwards. 

Matt has pretty good people skills. He managed to get this guy to help us. He had the front end loader and was more than willing to lift the log out of the water. I am always humbled by the generosity of complete strangers to help out. You should have seen the locals and tourist watching this scene!

Once the piece was out of the water, we needed to bring the log back to the art site. The site is about a 1/4 mile away -so why walk?
Here's "Just Passing Through" as the vandals had left it. 

only 14-10 days in the water and look at the moss growing

Sculptoure 2012 Site #2

Just Passing Through, 2011

Doug Ferrari was gracious enough to allow me to move the sculptures a bit further down from the lake.  I am very thankful for that - my work is more surrounded by a fence.  

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about your sculpture. What an awful ordeal!