Artist Randy Polumbo will install his latest work, Love Stream, a commission by collector Beth Rudin DeWoody, inside Chelsea’s Steven Kasher Gallery this September.
The piece is a refinement of Mr. Polumbo’s earlier work, The Garden and Grotto of Manifest Destiny, which was installed at Burning Man in 2008. For that, he built a solar-powered, mobile trailer command post that was about 40 feet long. Inside were clusters of dildos, tapestries of anal beads and, in the words of Mr. Polumbo, “a lot of things people wouldn’t even recognize.” Lately, he’s been working with glass and crystal to fabricate these sexual devices rather than use the real thing. For Love Stream, these suggestive sculptures are arranged in bouquets and adorn a vintage 1960s airstream trailer.
“They’re not really sex toys,” Mr. Polumbo said on the phone last week. “They’re more like my take on my favorite things from that world. I’ve taken something very kind of super male–this giant bouquet of wieners–and tried to make it into something feminine, a nest-like symbol of fertility.”
Mr. Polumbo is currently based out of New York, though he has also built a second home for himself–a junkyard shotgun shack of repurposed materials in Joshua Tree. There, he installed a work called Buttercup in Joshua Tree’s small downtown area. It was his first piece to make use of real sex toys and it looked like a garden of LED-lit dildos surrounded by four solar panels.
“At one point,” he said, “a born-again Christian group covered it with a tarp and preachers were preaching at it. I was just about to go to Burning Man for the first time, and someone told me I should take Buttercup with me.” He lit the whole thing up and drove it all the way there and, among the Burning Man crowd, people gathered around it like it was some monument to be worshiped.
Ms. DeWoody said over the phone that she hopes Love Stream will stop by Art Basel Miami Beach or one of its concurrent fairs before she has it installed in her art-filled Florida home. There are no plans yet, but since the piece is fully mobile, Mr. Polumbo joked that he should start staking out parking spaces now. Ms. DeWoody has not seen the completed piece in its crystal phallic glory, and only knows vaguely what to expect. Mr. Polumbo wanted to surprise her when the show opens. Neither of them are too worried, though.
“Not coincidentally,” he said, “a lot more people are interested in this than in my clusters of butt plugs.”