Randy Polumbo describes his work, Love Stream, like this: "[It] can be a giant kaleidescope, or upon penetrating the interior, a libidinally stimulating reflecting pool," says the artist.
And here we thought it was just an Airstream trailer decorated with pastel-colored glass dildos.
Those fortunate enough to have attended Art Public's opening night yesterday became intimately acquainted with Love Stream -- a 1960s-era Airstream trailer filled with suggestively-shaped hand blown glass pieces. The glass pieces, mostly phallic-shaped, recall some of Polumbo's earlier work, such as Buttercup, a collection of sex toys that includes dildos and butt plugs arranged as the interior of a flower, which Polumbo showed at Burning Man last year.
Love Stream is the older, urbane sibling of Buttercup. Says Polumbo, "There is not a dildo in the piece. The elements are loosely derived from forms present in nature, so one could say they are pistils and stamens, plants, fruits, etc. Saying these shapes are dildos is like calling the Washington Monument one."
We spoke to the New York and California based artist about his work and his thoughts on Miami.
Cultist: Tell us about Love Stream. What is the idea or inspiration behind it?
Randy Polumbo: I have always loved containers and shells of different sorts, and of course signaling devices, blooming blossoms, reddening buttocks on baboons, or even rescue beacons. Any input or output device, emblem, or storage cell for power interests me. From handbags, to sporting goods and medicine capsules, this kind of stuff inspires and fascinates me. Love Stream is the culmination of several years of work creating my own version of flowers that interact with viewers as kind of metaphoric "pollinators."
In this case I am especially pleased that the work is presented in the grass, under a massive baobab tree, glowing softly like perhaps a seed pod just come from flowering or a strobe on a remote airstrip. Then to see folks enter it, and/or look through the large ocular openings at each end, closes the loop for me. Depending on orientation the work can be a giant kaleidescope, or upon penetrating the interior, a libidinally stimulating reflecting pool. My goal has been to create this transformative, immersive environment that is highly personal and subjective with different results for every subject.
What kind of feedback have you gotten on it?
People generally offer strong responses to my work. This piece in particular is highly accessible and interactive fun. In NYC it was listed on a kids' blog and children climbed around it in the gallery happily. Different people report different effects, from being rendered very calm, to stirring up a state of stimulation.
We see you've been to Miami before. What do you think of our city?
Miami is really fun. People here are so friendly and colorful. I like it. I feel like here you have the best elements of Las Vegas, more beautiful skies, more nudity/out there dress, and of course the sea. What a rich chord is that!
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What's your take on Miami's art scene?
Judging by the street art and the samples in local galleries I have witnessed, I am sure lots of good work is being made here, and with less constraint of having to make a living or go in certain practical directions since space and life here are cheaper than a place like NYC for example.
If you weren't an artist, what would you be doing?
I love drawing and designing solutions for everything from mechanical problems to residential interiors or buildings, so maybe something like that? Or I would perhaps play my guitar a lot more, possibly for pocket change from passers-by.
Penetrate the interior of the "Lovestream" from today until Sunday at Art Public in Collins Park (Collins Ave. between 21 and 22 Streets). Visit miamibeach.artbasel.com.