Screen capture by Hyperallergic

Screen capture by Hyperallergic

It takes a lot of work to carve a sculpture, but apparently muppets have all the strength it takes. On the April 18 episode of Sesame Street, “sculpture” was the word of the day and the little red fuzzball Elmo teamed up with chiseled Mad Men star Jon Hamm to give viewers a quick history of the medium, from Rodin to David Smith.

YouTube video

Elmo is seen decked out with an artsy beret hammering away at a huge block of granite. “Sculpture,” Hamm says, “is a piece of art that’s made by shaping or carving something, or by putting things together.” Elmo’s not ready to reveal his masterpiece, so Hamm jumps into action and grabs some examples: a riff on Rodin’s iconic “Thinker,” made of clay; a kitschy, Brancusi-like abstraction made of marble; and a metallic David Smith lookalike.

Screen capture by Hyperallergic

Screen capture by Hyperallergic

Finally, Elmo’s ready to show us what he’s been working: a Mount Rushmore-style portrait — of himself. Hamm seems pretty impressed, but then, it’s no Kodak Carousel pitch. Check out some of the sculptures Sesame Street might have been inspired by below.

Rodin's "Thinker" (Image via

Rodin, “The Thinker” (Image via

Costantin Brancusi, "Mademoiselle Pogany" (1913) (Image via

Costantin Brancusi, “Mademoiselle Pogany” (1913) (Image via

David Smith, "Cubi VI" (Image via

David Smith, “Cubi VI” (Image via

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly, Kill Screen, Creators...

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