Skulls travel cross country

I gave my friend and collegue, Reni Gower, a skull while we were in LA. She took it back to Richmond, VA and had a lot of fun with it — from a visitImage 

to her accountant, the hardware store, even the VMFA!

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I was talking about the Too Much project just today with one of those super insightful friends (thanks Barbara!) who got me to realize that, in addition to whatever particular idea my art is about (identity, pharmaceuticals, bioethics, sugar, etc.), that what I really end up doing is making work about bringing together a community — it gives me great pleasure to have Reni actually take the time to take a skull across the country and shoot it in so many places, then send me the photos. I think what I really try to do is bring people together over art…get folks talking about something, debating its construct, coming up with new connections and new ideas. Making &!*@! happen, which works so much better when many people are moved to do something….ImageImageImageImageImageImage

LA Sugar Blitz

In late February I traveled to Los Angeles, in part to start new project about the obesity epidemic. I placed 100 sugar skulls in public places across the city in the hope that those who find them will come here and learn more about the ideas behind the art.  In the following posts you’ll find photos of where you can find the skulls in LA as well as current articles pouring out on sugar. I would love to hear your feedback as this is Phase One of a huge, multi-year project that will take place on the street, in galleries and museums. Thanks for reading!

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Scary Sugar Stories

It looks like Dr. Robert Lustig is finally getting his views heard. I first learned of his work last April in the NYT Magazine article Is Sugar Toxic? by Gary Taubes. When I read this a lightbulb went off and I began realizing my new work.

On Feb. 6, 2012, Max Pemberton reported in The Telegraph, that sadly, sugar is toxic, writing “What makes this added sugar so dangerous, argue the researchers, is that fructose from refined sugar is primarily broken down in the liver (unlike glucose which is slowly released from complex carbohydrates during digestion). The strain that this refined sugar puts on the liver starts a process that can lead to fatty liver disease and liver failure. But most importantly, its presence can trigger the development of type 2 diabetes. This is because high levels of sugar in the blood mean the pancreas has to produce large amounts of insulin – a hormone that helps control, and keep stable, blood sugar (glucose) levels by promoting its uptake by cells which need it for energy. Over time, the pancreas becomes fatigued and starts to fail. At the same time, cells in the body become increasingly resistant to the effects of insulin, and so blood sugar levels remain high, with damaging consequences.”

On Feb. 9th, Philly.com posted “You wouldn’t hand your 7-year-old a cigarette and a beer, but University of California researchers say the overload of sugar in the diets of kids—and adults—is just as bad for health. Their new report, published earlier this month in the journal Nature, contends that sugar contributes to heart disease, diabetes and cancer that kill 35 million people around the world each year.”

The Philly.com piece includes links to several good studies.

NPR is all over the topic. On Feb. 17th Ira Flatow talked with Dr. Robert Lustig about the dangers of sugar, its misconceptions and business politics.