Swan Song

Greg Lundgren

December 10, 2012

It will make people break laws and protect the poor and fuck complete strangers and do terrible things. This sculpture will make people take care of each other, but not all the time. This sculpture will recalibrate us all – turn us into the things we have been all along.

Sculpture #3

This sculpture didn’t change the world in any substantial way, nor did it sell for a million dollars. It wasn’t even created by a “professional” sculptor, just someone who had an idea that couldn’t quite be expressed with writing or music or painting. It had to be expressed as a three dimensional sculpture, and even with limited talent, that is what he set off to do.

This sculpture took a very long time to create. There were weeks when the artist just walked around his creation, studied it from every angle, puzzled, frustrated, uncertain. He read books, he took classes, this was that important to him – a critical operation – his life depended upon it. And for an entire year, this sculpture just wasn’t quite right. There were parts that were interesting, but it failed to capture his voice, it failed to capture the ideas that his vocal cords and his keyboard were ill-equipped to fabricate.

This sculpture was painstaking. This sculpture was a pain in the ass. This sculpture caused countless sleepless nights. But three years later, the artist (drunk) had his eureka moment, raced out to his garage and spent the next 134 hours frantically capturing the answer that he feared would disappear like the memory of a dream. And one day, this sculpture was finished.

Other people did not appreciate this sculpture. Certainly his friends and family applauded the tenacity of his summit, but strangers – curators, dealers, artists – it just failed to resonate with them. You could say that this sculpture was rather ignored by the world at large.

The artist, elated by his breakthrough, was taken back that others did not see the clarity of his expression or applaud his great feat. He was frustrated that this sculpture did not sway the dealers or the critics or the curators who guarded the gates of contemporary art. This sculpture was shown briefly in the record store his friend Carl owned. This sculpture was donated to an auction for a very good cause but failed to garner a single bid. Years past and the artist maintained his conviction – this was the greatest achievement of his life – this embodied something greater than himself, it defied words and explanation – it was his swan song. He never created another sculpture in his life.

This sculpture was given as a gift to an old girlfriend who bought a big house and had all of this room but no money to purchase furniture or art or much of anything else. For a few days this sculpture looked good in this big, clean, empty house, but as other stuff came in, as rugs and couches and track lighting were installed, this sculpture sank back into unassuming mediocrity. It gathered dust. It was moved into the office. It was moved outside next to the pond. And one day her interior designer put his foot down and had this sculpture taken to a local Goodwill, where it was priced very reasonably. And on half price pink tag day, a local book dealer purchased this sculpture for $15.49, took it home and wrapped it in carpet remnants. His four cats absolutely adored it.