description of California Artist by Robert Arneson

A balding man with dark sunglasses and crossed arms smirks at us in this ceramic sculpture. The self portrait is roughly life-sized, standing approximately five and a half feet tall, and features Robert Arneson’s torso atop a pedestal. He has tufts of wavy grey hair above his ears, and a full, but trimmed, greying beard. His sunglasses feature open holes in place of lenses, which lead into his empty, hollow head. He wears an open blue denim shirt, exposing a strip of bare, hairy, belly and chest. The base of the cement grey pedestal on which his torso sits is marred by beer bottles and a cigarette butt. Near the bottom of the pedestal, the facade has been chipped away, revealing brown bricks underneath. Pressed into the center of the bricks is the artist’s last name, Arneson, in block letters. A tall, green marijuana plant has been painted into the matte glaze of the pedestal, as have a few tufts of grass.

Robert Arneson, California Artist, 1982
Robert Arneson, California Artist, 1982; stoneware with glazes, 68 1/4 in. x 27 1/2 in. x 20 1/4 in. (173.36 cm x 69.85 cm x 51.44 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of the Modern Art Council; © Estate of Robert Arneson / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Robert Arneson, California Artist, 1982

Artwork Info

Artwork title
California Artist
Artist name
Robert Arneson
Date created
1982
Medium
stoneware with glazes
Dimensions
68 1/4 in. x 27 1/2 in. x 20 1/4 in. (173.36 cm x 69.85 cm x 51.44 cm)
Date acquired
1983
Credit
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of the Modern Art Council
Copyright
© Estate of Robert Arneson / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Permanent URL
https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/83.108.A-B
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

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