Can-ucopia of Visual Treats
Scabby the Rat usually rats on companies that engage in bad labor behavior. The giant inflatable rodent — the mascot unions use to shame businesses — shows up uninvited at entrances to corporate buildings, signaling worker strikes or other labor trouble. Now the dreaded rat is taking on another villain: It’s calling a strike against hunger. A sculpture of Scabby the Rat is one of the 22 exhibited at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center.
The 22 sculptures, made entirely of food cans, are part of Canstruction, a design competition dreamed up by the Society of Design Administration, a trade association, as a way to draw attention to the problem of hunger in America.
The “canstructions” do that in spades. The sculptures imaginatively use everyday objects, symbols and mascots like Scabby to make pointed statements about hunger. One sculpture of a bridge — called “Bridging the Hunger Gap” — pointed out that 38 million Americans live in — or on the edge of — hunger and represented “the gap between those in this country who eat like kings and those who can’t afford to fill up their plate at dinnertime.” Another sculpture of a hot-air balloon — cleverly called “Up, Up and Buffet” — symbolized the American “Can Do spirit” and “testing limits and defying gravity.” “The Seafarer” — a sailboat made of 3,000 cans of tuna — was poetic. Here’s how the contestants explained their sculpture: “With the main up, the spinnaker out and wind at her back, we’re racing to beat hunger.”
All of the canned food used to create the sculptures will be donated to City Harvest for distribution to emergency feeding programs. The competition has been held in cities throughout North America for 16 years.
The “can-ucopia” of visual treats will be on view until Dec. 2, 2008, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eighteen of them will be on view in the Courtyard Gallery of the World Financial Center until Dec. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.