Saturday, September 02, 2000

Pig Parade: Albert Swinestein

This pig pipes up as a relative genius

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

| ZOOM |
        This is 126th in a series spotlighting pigs from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project taking place in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Find past pig profiles and even details at

        Albert Einstein was seldom seen without a pipe in his mouth, so his porcine stand-in had to have one. Sponsor William Friedlander provided it, but within days it was a swiped pipe.

        “It was a pretty good pipe,” Mr. Friedlander says. “Strauss Brothers provided a replacement, and we went down and glued it in. Now we make a pipe check every week or so to see if it's still there.”

        Artist: Barb Fabing, 57, was working at FRCH, a design and architecture firm in downtown Cincinnati as she produced the pig. She is now working in Chicago.

        Sponsors: Sue and Bill Friedlander, who have a perfect spot in their garden for the pig. “Sue and I want to keep it rather than donate it to the pig auction,” Mr. Friedlander says. “ArtWorks needs money from the auction, so what we'll do is donate an equivalent amount of money to ArtWorks and keep Albert at home.”

        This pig's pen: Southwest corner, Fourth and Plum streets, downtown.

        You were inspired by: Ms. Fabing and a group of designers at FRCH got together and submitted 18 designs to the Big Pig Gig. Six designs found sponsors, so the FRCH staff teamed up to work on all the designs.

        Completing the project took: About five weeks for this pig, three months for all of them.

        What's the matter?: The hair and moustache came from a mop in my basement; the pen and pencil from my desk. The sweater was donated. It is a men's extra large. We had to cut it apart and restitch it to make it fit the pig's 80-inch waist.

        Your high on the hog was: The fun of all of us working in the basement of the company building night after night on five pigs. Even after I quit my job, I came back to finish my pig.

        Pig peeve: Working in an enclosed room with the fumes from toxic chemicals. It was really the high on the hog.

        Best pig tale: My father is in a nursing home in Cincinnati, so I keep coming back to take him out on drives to see all the pigs.

        My favorite pork dish: Tenderloin roast.

        What do you call this pig: Albert.

        The materials cost: About $300 to $400. We pooled all the money for all the pigs and any money left over will go for a party for all the people who worked on all the pigs.

        If your pig starred in a movie, who would you cast to play the role? Walter Matthau, who played Einstein in the movie IQ.


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