Thursday, September 21, 2000

Pig Parade: Erectheham on the Porkcropolis

Column what you will, pig pair carry their weight

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This is 145th in a series spotlighting pigs from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project taking place in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Find past pig profiles at

        Architect Donald Beck is known for using columns in his designs, so when he decided to do pigs, they had to be columns.

        Mr. Beck, 51, of Liberty Hill, designed the remodeled Music Hall Ballroom and numerous residential projects.

[photo] | ZOOM |
        Sponsor: Beck Architecture/Donald Beck/Larry E. Enyon, M.D.

        This pig's pen: Federal Reserve Plaza, Fifth Street. A lot of people haven't found the pigs there because the plaza closes at 6 p.m. and is closed on weekends.

        You were inspired by: One of the great buildings on the Acropolis in Athens is the Erectheum, which has statues of women caryatids, or women columns. They're holding up the porch.

        Completing the project took: Four months. The biggest part of the work was to get the standing pigs to fit the column bases. We didn't modify the fiberglass pigs. We just tilted them back.

        What's the matter? There are so many different materials involved. The beam is steel. There is steel inside the sculpture to hold it up. The pigs, of course are fiberglass. The column bases are wood and the lower bases are high density styrofoam. With so many different materials I had to use oil paint to cover it.

        Pig peeve: It started out white, but since I used oil-based paint, I used non-yellowing varnish, and of course it turned yellow. Now it has this eerie cast to it. And the marbleizing. It was my first attempt at marbleizing. I think it looks more like barbed wire.

        Best pig tale: When we were putting it up, a woman who probably knows the Erectheum asked if this was a comment on women. I certainly didn't intend it to be insulting.

        My favorite pork dish: Roast pork.

        What artistic movement most affected the outcome of this pig? Post modern porkatecture.

        The materials cost: The cost of two pigs plus more than the stipend.

        Do you consider this art or porkography? Being an architectural design, it's a little more serious than most of the pigs, if pig columns can be serious.


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- Pig Parade: Erectheham on the Porkcropolis
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