Sarah Palin sculpture makes stop in Bridgeport

Ukranian Village based artist J. Taylor Wallace will roast a pig in the mouth of his giant metal Sarah Palin sculpture "Tea Parody" in the evening Friday, April 20, at the opening of the Bridgeport Sculpture Garden on 35th Street. The nine foot tall piece, which doubles as an oven, will be one of 20 sculptures featured in the opening exhibition.

Bridgeport Art Center Manager Paul Levy says the Palin sculpture is not his favorite piece in the exhibition, but he does admit that it has mass appeal.

"People love that piece, and we've gotten a tremendous reception from everyone who has seen it," Levy said. "What can I say, people love Sarah Palin."

Wallace said the piece was born out of his frustration with the political climate surrounding Palin's potential presidential run last summer.  He said he thought she was stealing media attention away from the discussion of real issues by pulling publicity stunts and eating fried butter at state fairs, so he said, he decided to turn her actions into a parody.

"I felt like I needed a catharsis, creating the work really helped me deal with my frustration at the time," Wallace said. "But the point of the piece is to actually get people talking about things that are important to all of us right now."

His decision to roast a pig was a deliberate decision as well. He affixed two turkey wings to the pig's back to act as physical representation of the euphemism when pigs fly, a reference to Palin's chances at the presidential nomination.

Local artist Terry Karpowicz, who curated the show, said the Palin piece was selected primarily for its depiction of the human figure.

"I tried to cover a broad range of topics in the show capturing imagery, movement and flow within the space. [Palin] is the only figurative piece which had a broader audience appeal," Karpowicz said.

The sculpture made its debut last summer at the National Ornamental Museum in Memphis, TN. Wallace has invited the Former Alaskan Governor to all of his events since the sculpture's debut, but so far she has not shown up, he said.