Really? They tell me that you’re on your high horse about the recent visit of the Monster Trucks to Des Moines. Your artistic nose is out of joint at all the noise and the dirt and the craziness. You’re wondering how an over-sized truck can possibly have one admirer let alone a twitter account. And you’re worried this will give cause for more jokes about Des Moines as a backwater — a good place to fly over on your way to more refined activities.
Look. Have you ever seen a really large vehicle jump over a bus? Or over four cars? Or jump across a chasm? Or do a wheelie? Aren’t you just a wee bit tantalized by the absurdly large? If you take the ordinary and present it in an extraordinary fashion, doesn’t it give you pause and maybe even a new perspective?
Hah, you want artistic proof? Well, how about Claes Oldenburg and the late Coosje van Bruggen. They made a career of making the ordinary extraordinary. You know, the spoon and cherry in Minneapolis.
And the Shuttlecocks in Kansas City.
And Cupid’s bow and arrow in San Francisco.
Of course, we have our very own Crusoe’s Umbrella.
And a garden trowel sitting outside of Meredith.
These are amazing outdoor sculptures. And Des Moines has two of them. (Really three if you count Oldenburg’s giant plug sculpture inside the Art Museum.) And we have even more than mere sculptures by Oldenburg and Van Bruggen — we have Monster Trucks. Duh, the ordinary presented extraordinarily.
Still not convinced? OK, drive down Hickman, and on the south side of the road is the perfect merger of Oldenburg, Van Bruggen and Frosty the Snowman. As big as a house. Check it out.
Of course, you’re speechless. That’s what the extraordinary does. CV
Joe Weeg spent 31 years bumping around this town as a prosecutor for the Polk County Attorney’s Office. Now retired, he writes about the frequently overlooked people, places and events in Des Moines on his blog: www.joesneighborhood.com.