Eight Hundred Snails on a Beer Stein

“Look at that S Car Go!”

Snails on a Beer Stein.

Schwarmerei

On the way to the restrooms, down in the cool, dim Basement (where the deadly burning rays of the Museum Tower cannot reach) of the Nasher Sculpture Center is a room with three oddly disturbing sculptures. This is the first installation at the Nasher by a local artist. His name is Erick Swenson, and he makes strange meticulous tableaux out of resin, most involving animals in some stage of death or decomposition. They are arrestingly realistic and strangely surreal at the same time.

You can trap and kill snails and slugs in your garden with beer. This sculpture is called Schwärmerei – a German import to English that means something like fanatical enthusiasm, or the deadly insanity of the crowd (a word that could be fine-tuned and well-understood in Germany).

He says, “This is a static object. I’m asking you to look at this for more than three seconds. That’s hard to do sometimes. People just blow through stuff, you know. So it’s leaving things sort of enigmatic and open-ended.

I granted his wish, staying and staring, then photographing the Stein ‘N Snails. Other than the obvious metaphorical underpinning, it was a gorgeous and highly skilled work of craftsmanship. I can see it as an advertising piece for a new chain of eateries called the Brewpub Escargot.

Unfortunately, I don’t posses a macro lens or decent flash lighting so the photos do not do due justice. For a good picture of a snail go here. So I suppose y’all will have to go down to the Nasher and see for yourself. By the way, the third sculpture, the one hidden from the squeamish public behind the little wall, is a doozy… you are forewarned.

Most folks were spending more than three seconds at the sculpture.