Thursday, January 11, 2007


In my previous post about Tahquitz (rhymes with pockets) Canyon, I extolled minerality—my brother the boulder, and all. Excellent post, I recommend it.

It occurred to me that some sculptures by San Francisco’s beloved Benny Bufano (wikilink), illustrate my point very well, per the three below photos.

I love Benny’s animals with their round curves and minimally formed features, like babies. They're cute and sympathetic. "Yeah," Pud agrees, "screw the critics."

Because so much of the surface is non-feature-filled, we are struck as much by their rock-ness as by their animal-ness. Classical sculpture asks us to forget we are viewing rock, and gives us the illusion of viewing, say, Apollo, or Aphrodite.

These Bufanos don’t try to hide the fact that they are rock. They are sort of halfway between a rock and the subject animal. Boulder, or animal? Both, just like us. At least just like me and Pud.

So I pictured Bufano taking a hunk of marble and doing the least possible removal to reveal the animal form.

But no. My crack fact checkers tell me these works are cast-marble, or other cast-stone. This totally bummed me. Cast stone (little link) is something I wish I didn’t have to know about.

Anyway, IF Bufano had carved these things from solid rock, they would have brilliantly illustrated my point. But, hey, I still love those cuddly critters.

My friend Michael did a Bufano related photo essay (highly recommended) in his pre-blog days.

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sfmike said...

Wow, I thought that link was lost forever. I like Benny too so I won't read about cast-rock whatever. Thanks for the pics.

sfwillie said...

In you essay to show a former parking lot with the great view--forty years ago I parked in that lot a couple of times to make out, with a girl! It wasn't too bad.