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Dual Curbing Machine
mixed media, industrial, technology and people, where artist ideas originate, industrial components, whimsical, invention, whimsical invention, sculpture as metaphor, sculpture as amusement ride, non-commercial sculpture, juxtaposition, commodity consumption, leisure activity, urban life leisure activity, street culture, urban life, home, car as home, vehicle as home, vehicle as second home, car interiors, homeless people, homelessness, pseudo-machines, commentary on technology, fundamentals of urban life, car and home, transformation, non-functional sculpture, influence on artist, Dadaism, kinetic sculpture, amusing sculpture, humour in sculpture, expressing dilemma through sculpture, transform vehicle to house, nomadic people, scale of sculpture, scale, transform home to vehicle, urban centres, life dilemma, popular art world, commerce and art, finding sculpture parts, symmetry, street sculpture, public display of sculpture, satellite dish, motorized sculpture, sculpture with a power source, influence of carnivals and fairs, sculpture replicas, public interaction with art - sculpture, sculpture as spectacle, fantasy machine, whimsical invention, sculpture
description

Art  appraiserOne who engages in art appraisal.  A type of analysis and evaluation, especially in an official or professional capacity. In appraising works of art, for instance, an art appraiser studies their various qualities, and ultimately estimates their monetary worth, typically for insurance or taxation reasons, or in establishing a price. (Artlex.com)  Jeanne Parkin says, “Kim Adams is one of Canada’s most original makers of sculpture. Using  readymadeAn object manufactured for some other purpose, presented by an artist as a work of art. Between 1914 and 1921, Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968), who originated this concept, selected and signed, among others, a snow shovel, a comb, and a urinal. He occasionally altered readymades (sometimes called assisted readymades) — the most famous of which was a cheap reproduction of Mona Lisa on which Duchamp drew a mustache. (artlex.com)  industrial components right off the shelf or floor of the hardware store he constructs eccentric machines that, in a very amusing and inventive way, are presented, not simply as whimsical inventions, but as metaphors for the perpetual dilemma of everyday life.” (Parkin, 1999)

Kim Adams has an affinity for Canadian Tire and while shopping there he collects ideas and parts for his works.  Dual Curbing Machine is a symmetrical,  kineticExpressing movement. In art, kinetic refers to sculpture that moves, such as a mobile. (Artlex.com)   sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  made of industrial materials and looks like it could have come off of an industrial assembly line.  Constructed on a metal trailer/wagon, the  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  has large satellite dishes connected to motors on either end of it, and displays two pylons on either side of the three steps used to access the platform.  Here a viewer can observe the spinning dishes when they are plugged into a power source.  It is painted in bright and child-pleasing colours and brings to mind ideas of play and pleasurable experiences related to carnivals and fairs.

Dual Curbing Machine

Dual Curbing Machine is a smaller replica of Curbing Machine, a 1986  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  Adams displayed on the busy streets of downtown Toronto.  Six hours each day for a month he shared his machine/sculpture with the public - free of charge.  He encouraged his audience to interact with the sculpture, observing their reactions to the  spectacleSomething exhibited to view; usually, something presented to view as extraordinary, or as unusual and worthy of special notice; a remarkable or noteworthy sight; a show; a pageant; a gazingstock. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  he created.  Each person reacted in a own unique way. Andy Patton describes Adams’ works this way: “[a]bandoned they are sculpture; tended they are rides, amusements, vendor’s vehicles.” (Patton, 1991)  By placing his non-commercial  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  in the street among the street vendors, Adams brings to mind ideas related to commodity consumption and at the same time he is encouraging leisure activities in busy urban centres.

From his experiences with street culture and urban life, Adams also creates objects that reference the automobile and ideas of home.  Since for many people, their vehicle is like a second home, today’s cars are equipped for comfort and entertainment, complete with television screens and stereo systems.  On the other side of this equation is the growing number of homeless and nomadic people who will never own a vehicle or property.   CuratorAn individual or group, who conceives an idea for an art exhibition, selects the art works, plans how they will be displayed and writes accompanying supporting materials for the ideas presented. A curator can work freelance or be affiliated with a gallery, and serves as the link between artists and gallery.  Andy Patton notes, “These two modes - mobile and the immobile, the vehicle and the home - correspond to the two fundamentals of  contemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  urban life: the car and the house.  But though most of his works “begin” in one or another of these modes, almost all of his works consist in the condensing of these two into one object: the transformation of vehicles into homes and homes into vehicles.” (Patton, 1991)

Houses

Adams’ works are imaginative, amusing and unpredictable.  The  scaleThe proportion between two sets of dimensions.  can range from small fanciful environments to larger-than-life outdoor sculptures.  His works are often an interesting blend of humour and playfulness combined with serious ideas related to  contemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  society. Writer Ron Frohwerk offers these insights: “[s]imple satire, though, is only a small part of the Adams total program.  His pseudo-machines have a more humanist face.  He wants technology to work for people and not merely the  utilitarianOf or pertaining to utility; consisting in utility; aiming at utility as distinguished from beauty, ornament, etc.; sometimes, reproachfully, evincing, or characterized by, a regard for utility of a lower kind, or marked by a sordid spirit; as, utilitarian narrowness; a utilitarian indifference to art. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  or profit-making functions that spawn it.  That his ‘machines‘ do not actually ‘work‘ doesn‘t seem to faze him; in fact their non-functionality obliges the artist and the audience to devise more imaginative uses for them.“ (Frohwerk, 1989)

Artistic influences upon Adam’s work could include the work of Duchamp and the Dadaist movement of the 1920‘s.  Like Adams, artists from that time experimented with motion, machines, and industrialization.  A more  contemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  influence could be Jean Tinguely who also used machines and technology to comment on the technological developments of the 1960‘s in his work, Hommage to New York.

additional resources Things to Think About
  • At some point in his career, Adams was told his work was not art. Why do you think a viewer would come to that conclusion?

  • How is Jeff Wall’s (seen in the Technobabble theme on the ARTSask website) work similar to Kim Adams’ work?

  • Adams has strong opinions about lawns and lawn maintenance in suburban culture. What are your ideas on this practice? How does this activity relate to the fresh water supply and the ecosystem?


  • Writer Jack Anderson notes, “[f]or over a decade now, Adams has been making these kinds of impossible, unworkable inverted vehicles that reference the American car culture. Clearly they represent industrialism gone awry.” (Anderson, 2002) How do you think Adams gets this point across?

  • Study how the front and back proportions of automobiles have changed over the ages. What proportions and styles do you find most appealing? Could you develop a formula for success? For some additional information/help, check out to following websites:
Online Activity
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Select some of the machine and vehicle parts that you see.   Arrange them in unusual ways to create new machines and objects.

To do this, click on the shapes  iconLoosely, a picture; a sculpture, or even a building, when regarded as an object of veneration. (Artlex.com)  in the centre box under the drawing window (a little window will open with the machine and vehicle parts in it), and click on the shapes you wish to insert in the drawing window.  NOTE:  you will have to close the shapes window before you can move or  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  your machine parts.

Studio Activity

Create a diorama

  • Use a box or build a structure for a base.

Sketches

Sketches are often created as ideas for sculptures, and sometimes they are put away and used as ideas for subsequent work.

Design

Take a look at some examples of architecture and car  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  in your home and community.

  • Design your own car or home.
  • Find a block of wood (think about what size you will need – you may want more than one block), and some wheels.
  • Build a ramp and have a competition with some friends or fellow students to see whose car is the most aerodynamic. What have you done to improve the car ‘s speed?  What other methods could be used to improve the speed of the vehicle?

  • Scale up the sizes of the cars and create and build go-cart models of your vehicles. These will need brakes and a steering mechanism. Ask for assistance and advice from experts when you need it. You may find help at websites such as:
  • Design an impossible object where the objects have two fronts or two backs put together into one form.
  • Some examples from Kim Adams’ work would be the front halves of two bicycles joined together at the middle, or the back ends of two vans joined together.
  • Join together front and backs from other things to create imaginative objects or animals.
References

Anderson, Jack. ‘Turning the Auto on Itself.’  Regina Leader Post, July 25, 2002.

Frohwerk, Ron.  Kim Adams: Curbing Machine and Gift Machine.  Exhibition catalogue.  Plug In Gallery, 1989.

Martineau, Luanne and Anthony Kiendl.  Kim Adams: Street works. Exhibition catalogue.  Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, 2002.

Milroy, Sarah.  ‘Nomad’s Land.’ The Globe and Mail, July 11, 2001.

Parkin, Jeanne. Unpublished document.  MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina Saskatchewan, 1999.

Patton, Andy.  Trouser on Head. Exhibition catalogue.  Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1991.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning