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Culture

Hand
Janet Orsi

Visa or MasterCard? Larry Kirkland's disembodied appendage is, ah, provocative.

Hand Jive

THE HAND, the giant hand; it lies there, still, dormant, looking for all the world like a weird piece of public art or something. As if carved from stone, the hand remains perched in the courtyard as half a dozen delighted children scramble up to rap on its immense knuckles and crouch inside its massive palm. Suddenly, the hand stirs, flexing its marbled fingers for a brief terrifying moment before snapping shut on the hapless kiddies, squashing them flat in its cold, hard fist. Parents scream with grievous alarm. I wake up. Holy shit, I've had that dream again! Ever since the Santa Rosa Plaza unveiled Larry Kirkland's public installation titled "Agraria"--featuring that big old stone hand, 12 feet long, six feet high, carved in marble, surrounded by granite "pavers" containing profound multicultural quotations, and possibly waiting to grasp the world's largest credit card--I've been dreaming that the darn thing comes to life, sometimes crushing the lingering art lovers, sometimes crawling down Mendocino Avenue in search of a manicure. A famous sculptor once stated that while some art has the power to enter the unconscious and linger there, the purpose of art is to be noticed, and nothing more. With that in mind, the Plaza is to be congratulated on choosing a sculpture that achieves both. "Agraria" is impossible to ignore--even in our dreams.--D.T.

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From the March 27-April 2, 1997 issue of the Sonoma County Independent

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