Photo by either Scarp Home or his former wife Sandra.
Mrs. Amnesiac and I have gotten into the habit of taking Sunday walks that generally have us going through the lovely campus of CCC since 2017 or so. Of late, we've gotten used to having it pretty much to ourselves. People just don't seem to want to leave their houses, even on sunny days. Last Sunday, even the missus felt like staying home, so I had to stroll unaccompanied. I took the opportunity to diverge slightly from our customary path, and found myself within the sculpture garden for the first time.
This is where Lippard's concept comes into play for me. As I took in the handful of sculptures placed there, I pondered her ideas of locally based art, and the art of locale. Who were the unnamed artists whose sculptures are placed within this relatively humble spot? When were these pieces placed there, and with how much or how little fanfare within the community? Do they ever bring their loved ones to the sculpture garden and proudly show them their works? Does anyone even notice them as art anymore? Does anyone even care about and for them, especially in this current era of distance learning and campus closure (CCC has not been open for classes since March of 2020)? These types of questions arose at least partially from a Lippard-ian viewpoint within my head, along with the simple pleasure of looking at art live and in person. An altogether pleasurable experience, to be sure.
Forward in time a week, and Disaster Amnesiac returned to the campus, this time with my lovely bride in tow. I insisted that we go to the sculpture garden so that she could see the sculptures and I could take photos for this post. I was fascinated to find that two of the sculptures had been damaged over the course of the week. One, a surreal frog with its long red tongue hanging down to its feet, had been completely demolished, with only the plaster feel remaining. Another, a metallic mushroom, had been pushed from its base and onto a prone position in the dirt. Initially saddened by this turn of events within the garden, I began to ask more questions. Who did this? Was it a group of teens, getting high and drunk and feeling destructive? Was it the work of the campus grounds crew, having been requested to remove them? Was it a lone vandal, taking out some frustration on this seemingly unremarkable spot? Only the security cameras know for sure, and man would I like to see what they see. Obviously, it will have to remain a mystery to me, and that is alright. In a paradigm in which so many decisions and occurrences are so opaque, that's the kind of mystery that Disaster Amnesiac can live with angst-free. They simply embellish my esteem for the place that I've called home for the past five years.
I do hope that Contra Costa College will at least let the creators of those two pieces know of their fates. If that happens, how will they respond?
Below: intact sculptures within the Contra Costa College sculpture garden; note "additions" to the bird sculpture