“Bacon” sculpture is here to stay
It is official: ‘the bacon’ is back.
For four days beginning on April 1, Wright State University art students teamed with “Divisions” artist Linda Cunningham to mend the cracked and weathered monument, which stood drenched with precipitation and covered in yellow ‘caution’ tape for months.
“The problem was, once it was not in good condition, it was difficult for me to have it returned to me because I would arrange for a new site for it. I had to come out and see what was not ‘ok’,” Cunningham said.
Instead of having her artwork repaired by means outside of WSU, Cunningham decided to make the restoration process an educational experience.
“They [WSU] were very generously supporting this project,” Cunningham said. “[Sculpture students] would learn and do things that they would never have done otherwise and on a scale they would never do in a class. It’s good for everybody; a win- win-win.”
Sculpture Technician Landon Crowell said the wood used to build “Divisions” had begun to deteriorate because it had not been treated and “properly sealed” for years. To fix that problem, Crowell said the bottom portion of the structures had to be sealed to prevent further water leaks that could eventually topple “Divisions.”
“We’re using the same materials that were there before. We’re sealing the bottoms so that they don’t rot anymore,” Crowell said. “It’s [the sculpture] a danger because it would have fallen over on someone.”
“We’re using a high-quality wood preservative. It takes a two-step operation where you put wood cleaner on it and brush it to get all of the old deteriorated wood off of it, and then this new stuff penetrates and cleans it. It’s like an acid that treats it to control the mold. It’s a rather huge operation with a lot of parts,” Cunningham said.
Fine Arts major Lawrence Jones, who assisted in the repairs, said the sculpture was originally treated 15 years ago, which Cunningham confirmed.
Crowell said the majority of the restoration process was completed on April 4, but “there are still a couple of touchups that need to be completed.”
“[The sculpture] has been here for a while and it’s nice that we are restoring it to keep it around since it’s kind of traditional,” said Studio Art major Heather Foust. “It’s been here for over 15 years and it’s going to look a lot nicer when it’s back up because it will look more ‘industrial’.”
Cunningham was amused at the “bacon” moniker WSU students have given her creation, but said the real meaning of her work is found in the placards, which are inscribed with French-Jewish Philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas’ “Totalité et Infini” and translated into the six official languages of the U.N.; French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and English.
“It was redder at one time,” Cunningham said while laughing about the ‘bacon’ reference. “I have not heard that before.”
“Not everybody takes the trouble to read the plaques that are on it, which would give you the sense of what the meaning of this is.”
Cunningham said because WSU is not in a financial position to purchase the sculpture from her, she is working on planning a new location for “Divisions” “probably within the next year.”