3artists - Robert Arneson He said he wanted his body glazed...

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Robert Arneson “He said he wanted his body glazed, fired up to 2,000 degrees “and when it's cool, roll me over and shake out my ashes. . . . Make a glaze and color it bright.”” Those were the words of Robert Arneson mulling death. He was a prized sculptor and idealist. He was an internationally known sculptor whose controversial bust of Mayor George Moscone was rejected by the San Francisco Art Commission more than 10 years ago. “The city's Art Commission rejected the piece after a controversy erupted over the sculpture, which depicted the assassinated mayor's grinning head on a pedestal. Mr. Arneson covered the pedestal with words and images, including some of Moscone's favorite sayings -- ``Duck Soup'' and ``Is Everyone Having Fun?'' -- and phrases dealing with Supervisor Dan White's 1978 City Hall assassination of Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.” (The San Francisco Chronicle) At the time, Thomas Albright, the late Chronicle art critic, wrote that in a general way Mr. Arneson was aligned ``with contemporary writers such as Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, Tom Robbins or William Burroughs, who present a view of life that often resembles a caricature or cartoon. This is basically what Arneson has done in his representation'' of Moscone.   Arneson rejected the idea that ceramic artists produce only utilitarian or decorative items. He began creating non-functional clay pieces, contradicting the more formal traditions previously associated with this medium. He created a number of self- portraits using photographs, mirrors, and drawings; each one seemed to reveal a new
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identity. Although by definition self-referential, the ironic and humorous self-portraits
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3artists - Robert Arneson He said he wanted his body glazed...

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