In conjunction with its annual Fair art exhibition, HOOFPRINTS: The Horse in Art, Legend and Action, presented by Farmers Insurance, the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts held its inaugural Trojan Horse Tournament. Throughout the 18-day Fair, three teams of artists built their one-of-a kind, three-dimensional, modern-day interpretations of the legendary Trojan Horse from many years’ accumulation of scrap metal and materials collected by the Fair’s facilities department.
At a reception Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts, a panel of judges chose the first, second and third place winners in the tournament. William Moreno, executive director of the Claremont Museum of Art, John Svenson, world-renowned sculptor and Ruth Trotter, chair of the University of La Verne art department were tournament judges, bringing their individual artistic perspectives to bear on the three sculptures. The three judges looked for the communication of ideas to the public in each entry as well as how the sculpture communicates the Going Green message of the Fair, taking into account the artistic limitations imposed by the use of scrap materials.
First-place winner was Team Rib Tips, led by chain-saw wood carver Michael Severin, of La Verne, who quit his job to participate in the tournament. He and his team created a horse sculpture made primarily of old Fairplex signs that was “latitudinal, longitudinal, orbital and global.” It was intended to deliver two messages, he explained: “the ethos of funk and be green.” The award for first prize, donated by Mel Smith Electric in Pomona, was a competition-level torch similar to those the company donated for entrants to use in the construction of their Trojan Horse sculptures.
Second place went to Team Epeius, Then Us, led by metal sculptor Dan Romero, of Claremont (Epeius was the builder of the original Trojan Horse). Romero’s vision for the tournament was a horse that “someone would bring into their castle.” Hidden inside a trap door the team’s Trojan Horse is a man with a scroll that includes Romero’s own message: “Of our own creation are both war and peace as well as this simple metal horse, gods and music. It’s been mankind all along and we know it.”
Third place team The Trojan Triumvirate chose a nontraditional interpretation of the Trojan Horse. Embracing the Fair’s Going Green theme, the team of University of Southern California art students created a sculpture of Al Gore as ecology superhero, “who is worshipped like the legendary Trojan Horse,” even though his personal carbon footprint belies his ecology fervor, explained team leader Kristin Codiga. The team then sought to deconstruct Gore’s image by turning him into his own private jet plane. The hidden message: “It’s not one man’s purpose to save the earth. It’s up to all of us.”
Photos from the event are available at www.fairplex.com/fp/AboutUs/Newsroom/Media/mediahome.asp. For more information about Millard Sheets Center for the Arts, go to millardsheetscenter.org.