Steel Agaves. Literally.

Chromed steel copy of Echeveria 'Etna' (or something like):
   

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Chromed steel copy of Agave...something.  A baby americana, I think.
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Crested something or other.  Myrtillocactus geometrizans cristata, perhaps?
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Bronze version of Echeveria 'Imbricata':
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Chromed steel Euphorbia...
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Here's a living one:
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Chromed steel...heh.  Not sure.  What's your guess?  It's like an Aloe but where are the marginal teeth and tubercles?
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I have mixed feelings about metal versions of plants I know and love so well.  Metal Agaves!  Cool!  Love Agaves!  Love Agaves!  Yet....the plant's shape is there, yes, but not its its living presence.   You know what I mean, you who hang out with plants, you who have intimate friends that photosynthesize.  Plants breathe, they move, they struggle and strive.  Sometimes if you are lucky, they even grow.  They are rubbery, scratchy, smelly, nasty sharp ouch!  And infested with damn mealy bugs yet again, where's the spray bottle of alcohol?  They are anything but metal. 

The sculptures are beautiful because they are so true-to-life, the originals being beautiful.  The metal versions are expertly crafted.  It cannot be easy to do that quality of work, and I respect it.  But...but...they are not alive.  Artist, show me the plant's soul.  I already know what they look like in the flesh.  Show me what they dream about at night.  Show me the joy they feel when it rains after a long summer of dust.       

Living things duplicated in hard cold metal.  Of course we make sculptures of people and animals--why not plants?  I can only say...the originals are more beautiful.  Fleetingly, vulnerably alive...
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Work on computers all day?  Stick an Aloe vera on your window sill.  Please.  Something alive.  Do not completely separate yourself from every living thing that is not human.  

Then again...the more I think about it, the more I look at it, I may actually like the chromed steel Agave americana more than the real thing.  A metal version of Agave americana will never ruin its architectural beauty by offsetting like crazy, and a metal version will never, ever, ever take over the yard.    


"Steel and Stone, Forms From The Desert" December 27, 2012 - Jan 2, 2013 (closed Jan 1) at the Huntington Library Botanical Center Flora-Legium.
Ten steel sculptures of desert flora by Khachik Khachatouryan will be on display with a selection of 28 desert stones from the American Viewing Stone Resource Center. 


Comments

  1. hmmm..28 desert stones...a great place for a stoner I suppose.

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    1. Didn't even address the "viewing stones" part of the exhibit, which was interesting--culturally more Asian than American.

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  2. After our near record rainfall I'm beginning to think metal agaves may be the only way for me to enjoy them in the garden...

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  3. What's cool is that you can recognize the species being imitated in sculpture!

    I'm also mixed on steel agaves, cacti, etc...though in the case of no place to plant, a specific plant not being hardy, or something intended to be symbolic, I can make an exception. The latter is <1 mile from my house, a giant (25'+) steel yucca or agave, but no species intended...solar panels tucked into nearby chaparral keep it lit most nights. I'll have to post on it, by going out at night to capture the various light colors, once this cold wave moderates. You might like it?

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    1. Yes they appeared to be exact copies of actual plants. If you look carefully a cut in one of the Echeveria leaves was replicated in the sculpture.

      The giant steel plant in your neighborhood sounds fascinating, do post about it please.

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  4. Well, I had heard of steel magnolias so why not steel agaves? They look fascinating!

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  5. I think these are truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing them! Are they really over-sized? I'm sure that the prices are bigger than life because words like peripatetic don't come cheap and really, what price can one put on an artist's strolling, musing, and brooding. Ms. Hillhouse is quite a writer! To me they look like they could have been actual plants that were simply electroplated with nickel or bronze. I'm not disrespecting the artist, the technique is unimportant. It's interesting to me though, that often the art buying public craves the story or artist statement more than they value the intrinsic beauty of the art itself. There's no business like snow business.

    So, the answer to being "hermetically sealed in buildings of concrete and steel" isn't to create windows that open or to bring in live plants but rather to bring more polished metal into the already too inorganic environment? Sorry if I sound like a curmudgeon; I am one but hate to sound that way.

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    1. No, they are life-sized actually, though the Agave is a baby plant, not a 6-footer.

      Yes the art-buying public expects a story and considerable entertainment value from the artist him/herself. Lear's Fool? Curmudgeon away, we like it!

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  6. I love the sculptures! I wouldn’t have them instead of my plants, but in addition to of course. Sadly I suspect they are a bit expensive, probably more than what I can afford on my budget! But I wouldn’t mind getting the agave for my birthday :-)

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    1. Way more than my budget too! They were beautifully crafted.

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  7. truly unique scuptures...wish I had one~

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    1. I wonder how he did them, made such exact copies of real plants. They were exact in their detail.

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  8. I love them, and would gladly accept either one of them as the perfect gift. Not to be self-promoting, but isn't that part of being a blogger, anyway I posted a picture in my recent post of a steel tree sculpture in DC. The trunk reminded me of a Liriodendron, the branches not so much.

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