Thursday, December 11, 2014


Louisville has a distinct sense of humor, evidenced by the city's street art. Standard bike racks just wouldn't fit in this city famous for its bourbon, horse racing, fried chicken, and nightlife.

Charlie Farnsley, the popular former mayor of the city (1948-1953) and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1965-1967), hangs out on West Main Street, anxious to talk politics or give advice to tourists.
Charlie and my co-worker Chris sharing stories
I'm not sure who this one-armed, no-footed, ten-foot-tall stone man is,  but he needs to wash his face.
Louisville loves its horses
. . . and its jockeys
. . . and baseball (I never did make it into
the Louisville bat factory, but it
is hard to miss it!)
. . . and The Colonel.
The piece-de-resistance in downtown Louisville has to be this double-sized, 30-foot-tall, gold-leafed (or spray painted?) bad imitation of Michelangelo's David: He balances on a 15-foot-tall brick pedestal outside the 21c Museum and is absolutely impossible to miss:
The roof of the hotel/museum behind him sports three bizarre red penguins, good companions, I think, for David:
Parked on a side street next to David, the penguins, and the 21C Hotel/Museum is this over-the-top red limousine
Covered with thousands of tiny red glass beads that look like pomegranate arils, it is called "The Pip Mobile":
Are you getting a feel for Louisville's personality? This city is not afraid to be what it wants to be, and it's also very willing to laugh at itself.

The building around which these last few pieces of "art" is centered is the 21C Musuem Hotel, a combination of an award-winning boutique hotel and a contemporary art museum. The museum is open 24/7 and is free.
At the entrance visitors are greeted by the one-armed
floating lady walking her lion rug.
Forget Me Not, 2013. Found seashells and wood, by Duke Riley. The title is a phrase associated with 19th-
century sailors' valentines, and the mosaic invokes the history and mythology of maritime communities.
Children of the world
I LOVE this pinecone hairdo--Princess Leia on steroids.
Great hat, one I'd choose for myself.
Yes, those are bird feet. Wouldn't it be nice if I remembered what they were dong in this museum?
I can't look at this wonderful metallic tornado without thinking of Dorothy Gale and Toto
(even though she lived in Kansas, not Kentucky).

Mateo Mate by Joaquin Sorolla is a "uniform landscape," a 19th-century-style Impressionist painting made of different camouflage patterns of military uniforms from various countries. The small squares in the upper-left corner are a key to the various countries represented. The painting reveals "how the military industry has infiltrated domestic and public space."
Bullets Revisited #20, 2012, by Lalla Essaydi, is a traditionally-dressed  Moroccan woman. Every element of
the scene is made of bullet casings, "which effectively transforms this domestic space into a psychological one,
charged with the potential for violence that pervades contemporary society."
Controlled Burn by Kevin Cooley was made by creating an explosion and photographing the first few
seconds. Don't try this at home unless you have an explosives expert helping you (as did the artist).
Part of the artist's statement reads: "Inspired by the smoke signals of the recent Papal conclave . . . this
series is a part of a larger artistic practice focusing on human relationships to nature. Fire is a powerful
natural force that we harness for greater good, yet when out of control it has the potential for grave destruction."

And finally, there are plenty of red penguins inside that are brothers to the ones on the roof. The signature piece of Louisville's 21c Museum, they were commissioned for the 2005 Venice Biennale.

If you are interested in learning  a little more about this quirky museum, this video is for you:


  1. I love all of the quirky art. Of course, you have an eye for such stuff.

  2. Free museum? Amazing! Lots of fun art everywhere, but that David is creepy.