Kenny Be's Yard Arteology: Tubular Gals

The study of neighbors through their lawn ornaments...

Figure 15. Wash. Park West: Tubular Gals

Denver is a city of artists. Anyone who has ever tried to make a living by selling their art here quickly realizes that there are actually more artists than residents in this city. The most prolific creators soon run out of available studio storage space and often must use their own yards as a personal art galleries. This is especially appealing to artists who can express themselves through the mediums of house paint and concrete. The Public Works Department encourages weather-proof "art in the yard," as it keeps tons of homeless art out of the city's landfill.

The trio of Tubular Gals seen in figure 15 sits on the lawn of an older home in a well-established street of central Denver's Wash. Park West neighborhood. At first glance, the grouping seems to suggest that the homeowner put a daughter through art school in the early 1980s. The heavy outlines, the bold colors, the almond eyes and the Renaissance fair-y fashions of the sculptures hint that this might have been part of a graduate thesis about reclaiming the goddess through the masculine materials of concrete and rebar. However, a closer look reveals a backdrop of colored string laced through the fence like a giant loom, indicating that a working artist is in residence. The worn areas of chipped paint at the base of each figure may well be the wear marks of mowers and weed wackers, judging by the neatly maintained lawn.

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