As we hunker down in anticipation of what will almost certainly be a less dramatic snowstorm than some are predicting, and begin to formulate plans for the construction of snowpersons that will immediately follow, we offer you this brief and necessarily incomplete survey of artists’ snowmen for inspiration.
Patrick Caulfield (1936–2005) and Gary Hume (born 1962) have 34 years between them, and yet their work is similar and compelling enough to warrant a twin retrospective at Tate Britain. Because the Tate has prudently divided the artists — “offering visitors the chance to see the work of two complementary British artists from different generations,” as the exhibition leaflet explains — the viewer experiences Caulfield and Hume individually. And because there are no descriptive captions alongside the artworks — only an accompanying pamphlet, which focuses on one work per room — the viewer is left to discover the connections between the artists herself.
Lost in a Metro-North commuter train daze, I watched the Wassaic Project pass by the train window without recognizing it. But the giant slingshot and makeshift teepees that decorated the lush green grass next to a towering grain elevator hinted that artists and their ilk may be nearby. Inside, I would find works by Eric Fischl, Agnes Martin, Gary Hume, Richard Prince, Dieter Roth, Rebecca Horn, Gerhard Richter and Imi Knoebel … among others.