Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vice v7n1 Wazzup Piece: Buttplug Apocalypse

A kid called Christopher Harding set this all up and did the q&a. I did the edit and the intro.


If You Go Down To The Desert Today Be Sure Of A Big Vibrating Multi Coloured Surprise

Randy Polumbo is a mildly spoken artist who makes the often snooze-inducing world of modern sculpture seem a hoot a minute. We defy you to bring us the head of any other young sculptor working today who regularly exhibits giant condom zeppelins and wheelie penis hot dogs. If none of that last sentence makes any sense to you, go check out his website at for a heap of knob and naughty-stuff strewn work that will tickle your funny bone and make your eyes happy.

Randy also co-organises the annual Art Queen fair in his native Joshua Tree that sees a whole host of arty people pitch up and do arty stuff in a field on Randy’s land for a month or so every winter. After letting out a plot of land to the god-fearing folk of the Jesus House of Prayer you can imagine poor old Randy’s surprise when the local Sheriff’s department covered up his main work with a blue tarpaulin after complaints from his Jesus lovin’ lodgers on the grounds of public obscenity.

Oh, did we forget to mention that the work in question is a huge sea-anemone like installation called “Buttercup” (arf arf), shaped like a flower and made out of over-sized dildos with a butt-plug for a stigma and solar panels for petals that allow the whole thing to suck up desert sun all day and blaze all night with a technicoloured sex glow that was so powerful it pulsated straight through the censorship tarp? We decided to catch up with Randy and talk penis sculpture and church persecution

Vice: Try and tell me that if you walked past this thing in the street while you were walking your gran you’d not go at least a little bit blushy?
Randy Polumbo: The pretty but ugly contrast is one of the best things in life. Some of the best foods are very near the threshold of being too gross to eat. Exotic cheese, raw meat or fish, not to mention beverages and sex acts.

Which sexual acts would you say are on a par with sushi?
The idea is more that it is powerful to wrap something ugly in a handsome cloak and make both aspects amplified by the juxtaposition. It is a challenge to make a poetic little flower out of tiny ejaculating real penises.

So what actually happened when they tried to close down your butt plug oasis?
The tent full of the extremist revival church guys who I’d given a plot to on the premise that they could use it as and office freaked out and called the police without even speaking to me. Their case to the police was that their parishioners and family folk would see my work as they passed. Then a guy from the Sheriff's department covered it up with the blue tarp. After some to and froing it’s all simmered down and it’s just one fellow who marches and yells about Jesus on Sundays now with this big placard about hell and punishment.

That’s it?
There were also some threats including violence and death. But talk is cheap. Right.

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