Self-Guided Reflection: Laguna Gloria Artwork
Wander through the works of art on view at The Contemporary Austin’s fourteen-acre sculpture park along the shores of Lake Austin. We invite you to come back and continue your exploration again and again, as we will add more sculptures to explore in the coming weeks. Click an image to explore in detail.
Click here to learn more about the art on view at Laguna Gloria!
The Contemporary Austin Staff Collaboration:
Staff at The Contemporary Austin recently participated in a team-building challenge inspired by Surrealist “exquisite corpse” methods of writing and drawing collectively. Working in teams, they collaborated on “Exquisite Sculpture” stories about works on view at Laguna Gloria.
The rules of the game were: (1) Each participant must bring to the game their "favorite object." (2) The first author must write a passage about a sculpture at Laguna Gloria; the plot must incorporate a teammate’s favorite object. The first author passes onto the next author a photo of their own favorite object, and only the last sentence of their passage. (2) The second author makes their contribution to the story using only the previous author’s last sentence and object. To the next author, they pass on their own last sentence and object. (3) The process is continued until every person has contributed and the story is complete. Stories from each team were compiled and read aloud for the first time at a virtual all-staff meeting, then staff were invited to vote on their favorite story.
We are pleased to share with you the winning story about Tom Sachs’s Miffy Fountain, 2008, as well as accompanying object photos, written by Julie Le, Administrative Assistant, Curatorial; Emily Cayton, Associate Director of Education; Michelle Voss, Fund Development Manager; Andrea Mellard, Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement; and Arin Madera, Site Rentals Coordinator.
1. It was a spring dawn at Laguna Gloria, perfect for birders, when the cooler air and lower winds carry birdsong with clarity through the trees. Miffy loved birdwatching. Birds do the one thing none of us can do (except in dreams): fly. This morning, her ears scanned the trees for the slow trills and buzzy whistle of the rare golden-cheeked warbler. She thought it ironic this was called birdwatching; years of this hobby taught her that birds are more accurately identified by ear rather than eye. (It's hard for her to see clearly through her fountain of tears.) The soft clicking of a camera shutter brought Miffy's gaze downward. Through bleary eyes, Miffy watched as the young girl ceased shooting to rummage through her purse, pulling out a quarter. With eyes closed, the girl whispered something indiscernible, before tossing her coin into the fountain. Immediately, Miffy's tears ceased. “Well, no one’s ever made that kind of wish,” Miffy said. –Julie Le
2. Miffy couldn’t stop thinking about that surprising, unheard of, squishy wishy (but maybe her proximity to a wet abyss is what makes most thoughts squishy, drippy, and slippy). With her feet only inches above water, tears streaming from her dark eyes, she reached into her pocket and pinched the object she always carried with her… just in case of splinters, stray hairs, or anything small that needs retrieving. This tool is superb, even if it sometimes causes pain and the occasional stream of tears. Its silver, metallic tips come to a point, and its matte black handles contrast beautifully with Miffy’s white bunny feet, or paws, or hands. When it comes to things a cartoon bunny rabbit can rely on, these are Miffy’s most dependable security pinchers. –Emily Cayton
3. Being a cartoon bunny sculpture isn’t easy. Sometimes, Miffy gets lonely, especially at sunset when everyone leaves Laguna Gloria to go home. Miffy often thinks about her best friends from home, the Ghouls. Miffy still has a magnet with a picture of the Ghouls at bath time, which she always thinks about during her monthly scrubbings by her good friend, Dave Culpepper. –Michelle Voss
4. She had come to trust Dave over her years at the park. Maybe it was because she saw him so often, or how his jaunty striped shirts made him look like Picasso. The first time he took of his shoes and climbed barefoot into her fountain to fill it, she had cried a little because she was afraid that she couldn’t swam. She had not known any other swimming rabbits but was inspired because Water Woman made it look so easy. There is something about Dave’s good-natured, hands-in-pockets stance that assured her when his gentle blue eyes met her own vacant black ones that she could do anything, even swim. She wished she had opposable toes like him to wiggle in the water, or really just any kind of feet because then she could really make a splash. –Andrea Mellard
5. She wished she had opposable toes like him to wiggle in the water, or really just any kind of feet because then she could really make a splash. But alas…she had to make the best of it. She took a gulp of air and dove down beneath the surface. She swam and swam until she could no longer see the sunlight. Just into complete darkness, she heard a tiny voice. “Come one, come all! Greatest show on Earth! Miniature Miffys, elephant-sized ghosts, trapeze artists, bearded ladies, lion-tamers! And all the way from Mars, our very own Balancing Bob!” Eyes wide, she approached the announcer. “Is there room for…someone like me?” To which he replied, “It’s Contemporary – there’s room for everyone!” –Arin Madera
While The Contemporary Austin is closed to the public, we remain committed to inspiring our community through experiences with contemporary art. We have developed virtual programming to keep Austin inspired, organized virtual art classes for adults and kids through our Art School, and built robust art-based curricula and resources for educators and the general public—all while maintaining our 14-acre sculpture park and caring for the artwork at the Jones Center on Congress Avenue so we will be ready to welcome you back in-person soon. Please consider supporting our efforts if you are able.
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