Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides and big-ticket concerts by musicians that other people love. My wife and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. We’re not as thrilled about carnival rides as we used to be, and the State Fair almost never invites musicians I like. In between snacking experiments, our day at the fair tends to be all about sightseeing…
ART! It’s everywhere at the State Fair! It’s in the buildings or along the streets, it’s made by kids or by adults, it’s made of traditional media or of food, it expresses a thought or teaches a lesson or celebrates an idol or all of the above. These, then, are random examples of those very things that caught our eye.
Naturally we had to lead with Clonetrooper helmet. Its display-case roommate looks vaguely Legoesque, but I could be wrong.
If you prefer full-body characters rather than just their accessories, say hi to the hand-sewn titular hero of Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, surrounded by happy winning ribbons.
Handmade animated characters abounded in the 4-H building, including Wanda from The Fairly OddParents. Or “State Fairly”, as it were. I couldn’t tell if Wanda was made from glued-together cotton balls, marshmallows, or maybe hominy.
Hot on the heels of last night’s Minions in repose, another smaller Minion hears adventure beckoning. Those poodle companions, not so much.
Adults staged their share of licensed characters, too. Here, Spongebob Squarepants shills for our hardy ice cream vendors. Ice cream is better at the fair than back home, where salt water gets in everything.
Across the street from Spongebob, Indiana’s own Garfield welcomes you to the Coliseum and one of several local sponsors whose money makes many aspects of the fair possible. This may be pushing the limits of the “art” category, but it dovetails nicely with our great Garfield sculpture hunt back in May 2014, so I’ll allow it.
Not every artform is about other people’s intellectual properties. Over in the AgHort Building, some kind of scarecrow design contest drew several entries, not a one of them reminiscent of any other lifeform. At best, this scarecrow seems poised to live through John Mellencamp’s “Rain on the Scarecrow”, so there’s that.
Some circles consider fashion and home decor as kinds of art. The Home & Family Arts Building hosts numerous contributors vying for ribbons and recognition in a variety f categories — dressmaking, photography, and even Christmas tree decoration. Because you can never prepare for Christmas too early.
Food as art is hardly a new concept, particularly as embodied in the Indiana State Fair’s annual cheese sculpture. It’s always a wonder to behold as long as you don’t visit the fair too early in the season. When we arrived on Day 5 work was still in progress, but you can already see the details being finely molded.
As your teachers may have tried to tell you, art also has the power to educate, to impart new information upon impressionable minds, to expand your horizons into new realms you might never have dared consider if the artist hadn’t provoked you into it. And let’s face it: some areas of science are vastly underrepresented in the media compared to others. Someone has to stick up for the little topics, and they don’t get much littler than “Where does cat poop come from?”
…so if someone ever catches you off-guard with a cat kaka quiz, now you’ll be ready.
To be concluded! Other chapters in this special MCC miniseries: