Friday, March 20, 2009

I Was a Twentysomething Painting Pachyderm

Here's something from 1987 or so that I thought was lost in the mists of time (AKA the molds of the garden shed) but turned up during research for my forthcoming website

I've always been fond of elephants, but I forgot how far back my interest in them as visual artists went. For the LA Weekly's 2003 List Issue I wrote:

"Sometime in the early '80s, a Syracuse zookeeper named David Gucwa gave a paintbrush to the African elephant Siri and a new branch of non-human art history was born. A few years later, Ruby, an elephant at the Phoenix zoo, became a media sensation with her prodigious output of vibrant works. Realizing the fund-raising potential, zoos across America began shelling out for art supplies. Russian artists Komar and Melamid were inspired to open a school for unemployed Thai elephants to learn painting — a story outlined in their 2000 book When Elephants Paint. These sarcastic foreigners have more than a little invested in ridiculing Modernism, but the good their patronage has done is undeniable — sanctuaries in Thailand, India and Bali now support themselves with work by dozens of elephant artists sold through online galleries at and The Balinese sanctuary has been suffering the tourist gap since those discos blew up, and may be assisted directly at Look for the link to the Have-a-Art Appeal."

Read the rest of Doug Harvey's Favorite Non-Human Artwork here. Those links may be obsolete, but a good place to start looking is

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