Will 3D Printing Save Us From Bad Garden Sculpture?

In the annals of bad taste there’s nothing quite like contemporary garden sculpture. We’ve ranted about this before. Leaf through the infamous and (mercifully) soon to be extinct Skymall catalog and you’ll find statuary, like the example above, that would make Saddam Hussein blush in his grave.

Even the professional landscape community seems to have a sculptural kitsch problem. Our public spaces are plagued with bronze, smiling, hyper-realistic statuary. For me these things evoke a visceral uncanny valley horror response.

Perhaps 3D printing is the answer. In 2012 artist Oliver Laric approached a museum in the UK and proposed scanning objects from their collection and making the files available for free. You can see those scans, which include Dante, Roman and medieval objects and a few 19th century British mayors here. You can also see what some folks have been doing with those scans.

While the past is no refuge from kitsch, I’ll take the spinning Dante over bronze Children of the Damned any day.

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  1. As you suggested, I’ve just taken a look at the statuary in the Skymall web site. There’s some seriously weird stuff there. It’s surprising that people who would consider buying these things are even allowed to fly on commercial airlines. Where is Homeland Security when you need them? However, I was looking for a statue of Cthulhu, and I couldn’t find one. Plenty of scary kittens though.

  2. Oh good, now any tech geek can print plastic heads of whoever. I don’t think ABS busts are really improvements over creepy bronze children.

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