An art world word and background info for kitsch sculptures?
August 4, 2017 9:32 AM   Subscribe

I've been working on a series of photos of those kitsch statues that you find in amusement parks and miniature golf courses. They're life size or larger, made of. . um. . fibreglass? Cement? Plaster? And they are dinosaurs, zoo animals, monsters - you know what I mean. What do you call them? Statues? Sculptures? Is there a word? Where do they come from? What are they made of? Who makes them? Are they mass produced or individually crafted? Help I need to write an artist statement in like an hour.
posted by mygothlaundry to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Fiberglass figures?
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:40 AM on August 4, 2017

Can't vouch for the site, but Cowpainters appears to have a hotline for artists' questions. They might be able to answer your questions.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:44 AM on August 4, 2017

Muffler Men are on the big side of what you're talking about, but there's some relevant background info on that wikipedia page. If you said "roadside fiberglass sculptures" I'd know exactly what you meant, though that's not a term of art.
posted by miles per flower at 10:42 AM on August 4, 2017

I looks like there are a few different manufacturers, many of them in China, but doing a quick google it looks like FASTKorp, Po-Art, and IconPoly are US-based. You can probably call them and ask what the industry term is. Or their website/catalog terminology might clear it up.

I would call them "fiberglass roadside sculptures" and then describe them like you did.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:45 AM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

FAST Corp is indeed who you want to contact. Having just visited their fiberglass mold graveyard, I can tell you that they are only too happy to talk to people who take an interest in their work. Oh, and to answer a few of your questions, they are made of fiberglass, the molds are custom-made, and the finished statues are hand-painted.
posted by DrGail at 12:59 PM on August 4, 2017 [7 favorites]

Roadside America calls it Dementia Concretia.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 1:07 PM on August 4, 2017

I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for exactly, but I used to drive past on the way to my in-laws' and it was a wonder to behold.
posted by goggie at 1:21 PM on August 4, 2017

I've heard it referred to as Americana. Do they have such fabulousness elsewhere? If you Google image "americana roadside" it pulls up a full gallery.
posted by Carbolic at 9:44 PM on August 4, 2017

When they are sculptural buildings that double as both business and symbolic signage, architectural historians call them Programmatic or Mimetic Architecture.
posted by Scram at 12:44 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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