Prof. Bashaw guest lectures for new course ART 1sn0w6

Good afternoon, students! If you are wondering where Professor Tallon is, fear not. He has given me a tour of the campus so that I can investigate these creations for my presentation. I am Professor Al Bashaw of the Polar Vortex University, and I’m the voice in the back of your head.

Let’s start our discussion by looking at the mystical art of snow portraiture. To merely assume the only way people represent the human form is through a “snowman” is exceedingly fallacious. In fact, the three works on your monument list show an incredible diversity in ways that people can be portrayed. First, I would like to discuss “Olaf,” created in 2015 within the northeastern sector of Vassar. The artist here uses specific iconography to alert the viewer to the narrative behind the piece. The carrot nose, sticky arms and weirdly-shaped head express the form of Olaf, created in the far-off land of Dizknee. Olaf was fabled to walk and talk, and the artist here shows his reaching arms and twinkling gaze as much alive as can be achieved through sculpture.

The second work of portraiture we will discuss today is the “Jossian Colossus.” This massive sculpture was built in the round, and also has rounded segments. Its geometric forms are highly stylized, and non-naturalistic. The colossus represents a desire for the Jossians to be a big part of campus, yet its puny arms render it nearly helpless. Still, to hoist a midsection as large as this colossus’ is a feat to be reckoned with.

However, the most interesting piece of sculpture resides at the northern end of campus, next to the tall phallic building. This well-sculpted head mirrors the Moai from the Easter Island statues. This figure’s eyebrows happen to be on fleek, and its deep-set eyes and neutral mouth form an almost disapproving expression as it looks down its long nose. Is he looking down on kids who slip on the ice in front of him? Perhaps he is expressing disdain for drunken disasters that drift into his depth of view? Either way, the artist/artists behind this beautiful piece are expressing daily feelings of annoyance experienced at Vassar. Researching here throughout this winter has alerted me to these daily struggles. When the Retreat grill is closed I make the same face as Mr. Easter Island Head. The same thing happens when UpC’s Nilda Cookies choice is more limited than the Mona Lisa’s eyebrows.

Instead of emulating the emotions one feels when they can’t find a spoon at the All Campus Dining Center, snow architecture focuses on creating a space within a frigid landscape. These domed spaces I will discuss today represent feats of human engineering, and possibly marijuana-induced whims. The “Hagia Snowfia” from your monuments list is a strong dome structure found in the northern edge of the quadrant, right in front of the tallest building. Entering this dome, you are dazzled by the white walls and ceiling. Within the confines of this space, which is shaped just like the bowl one smokes out of, worshippers reach a heightened state. Sometimes, if you walk by this lovely chapel, you can hear the muffled coughs and giggles of enlightened pilgrims, who have traveled across campus to revel in its flawless geometric construction.

The penultimate work on your monuments list for today is the San Deece Cathedral. This is located along the path from the All Campus Dining Center to Main, and consists of three rounded chambers, connected by narrow barrel vaults. Upon entering the main nave, you are presented with two possible directions of uncomfortable snow crawling to reach the other areas. Professor Tallon and I recently did a laser analysis of the structure, and we found some shocking results. We have come to the groundbreaking conclusion that by the time spring comes, this lovely Cathedral will no longer be standing. Yes, folks, the engaged pillasters supporting the heavy domes are merely transitory, and my best estimate says they will collapse from the weight of the dome by around April.

And finally: we have symbols on the Quadrant, traced into the snow using a technique called boot-stride packing or “footprints.” On your monument list, the two works, “Big Dick” and “Hearts in the Snow, Winter” (both from 2015) are important works to analyze for the symbolism pervading collegiate minds. The love-sex duality is often thought to be something that college students cannot find simultaneously; however, I suggest these pieces are interconnected and imply hope for all the post-coital cuddlers out there. Our hearts and genitalia need not be cold forever—spring always comes.

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