John Luebtow, Ode to Congress: GRIDLOCK, 1996
We are in a crisis of a magnitude never experienced before. That is not hyperbole, Why are we here? Where are we going? What have we done to get where we are? How did we get here?… the search is summed up by the echoing cry of Langston Hughes’s poem:
Harlem (What happens to a dream deferred?)
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raison in the sun? Or fester like sore- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
The American Flag, what does respect for it really mean? The title, ‘ODE TO CONGRESS GRIDLOCK”, refers to our GRIDLOCKED Government’s inability, actually lack of desire, to deal with the needs of its people, while being controlled by its own greed , that of lobbyists, the 1%.
This piece is formed by “slumping”, watching and controlling the bending to near 1500 degrees F. the hotter it gets the more liquid it becomes. HEAT, RISING TEMPERATURES, GLOBAL WARMING help define the relevance of the glass perfectly. The rusting steel of the support structure represents the continuously deteriorating political structure.
Immediate change is necessary to survive. Simply look into a mirror and ask yourself “HOW – WHERE – WHAT and WHY? Why are we here? Where are we going? What have we done to get where we are?
How have we done this?… VOTE!!!!!
The enameled, fused-glass flag slumped over the blown-glass skull is titled Ode to Democracy: POTUS. This piece was inspired in 2016 and completed this year, in 2020. Democracy is at death’s door. The skull represents POTUS and his followers. I use the flag as a symbol, which POTUS uses to cover and hide under, thusly blocking their real agendas.
The third piece, titled Ode to Twin Towers: HUNG OUT TO DRY 13-50, completed in 2005, was inspired by the Twin Towers’ destruction in New York. The sculpture is separated into two sections: the red and white 13 stripes, and the white and blue section with 50 stars, conveying an ever increasing separation of our government policies, between then and now, from its people. Our country is being, and has been, hung out to dry. Our politicians have laundered it, destroyed our values and our world standing, and hung us out for the highest bidders.