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Franz West, “The Ego and the Id” (2008), Central Park, 2009 (photo by the author)

The Guardian may have said it best about the life and work of sculptor Franz West:

Austrian artist Franz West, who died yesterday, was a sculptural jester, a provocateur, a maker of benign and threatening objects. Encounters with West’s art are often occasions for laughter, though it is a laugh tinged with horror and disbelief. He could deflate the pomposity of the city square or the elegance of a park with his giant pink phalluses and lime-green sausages. Sitting on dignified plinths, his skewed and lumpy sculptures, often garishly painted, had a kind of idiot elegance.

Idiot, lumpy, skewed … only in an artist’s obituary could you get away with terms like that and still expect it to be a positive overview.

It’s worth noting that in 2011, West was awarded the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia in recognition for his life’s work. Here he is accepting his award:

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.