An American sculptor
. Arthur Ganson
is a man who loves machines
. He creates intricate
, detailed kinetic sculptures
. An anonymous art critic summed up
of Ganson best when he/she said that Ganson was a cross
between Rube Goldberg
and Jean-Paul Sartre
Ganson can make machines with an incredible amount of personality. One of his sculptures is 'Machine with Wishbone', which has many large flywheels connected to a small chicken's wishbone out in front of it. When the machine is operating, it will move the wishbone in such a way that it looks like it's walking. A seemingly whimsical idea, until you see the sculpture in action. The bone moves slowly, ponderously. It looks like it's having to drag the whirling contraption behind it around. It looks like the bone is serving some kind of penance.
Not all of the sculptures are dark. They can be sensuous, like the machine that has a long, spidery arm that dips into a pool of oil, and then showers itself in the oil. They can be beautiful, also - the sculpture 'Machine with 23 Pieces of Paper' is made of small pieces of paper, folded in half but open like wings, connected to a complex machine below. As the machine spins, it makes the paper wings flap. But Ganson was able to make the machine spin furiously while, overhead, the paper wings to flap lazily and gracefully. Ganson even got the sounds right - the machine gives off tiny, high-pitched squeaking noises, not unlike a bird's cries.
Ganson spends his time as a sculptor, but he pays the bills with inventions such as Toobers and Zots, a toy made of brightly-colored foam tubes that can bend into any shape and hold it. Toobers and Zots can be found in any good toy store.
Ganson's art will travel occasionally, but most of it is at a permanent exhibition on the MIT campus, where he is the Artist-In-Residence. See http://web.mit.edu/museum/exhibits/ganson.html for more information.