Readers Write: George Sculptures, with “Santos Deconstructed”

Readers Write: George Sculptures, with “Santos Deconstructed”
George within "Tower of George" (photo by William Ruh)

George Santos’ attorney said that the New York Times had “smeared his good name”. After Election Day, I put his “good name” to good use.

I harvested many of the then “old” two-faced George Santos campaign signs from Nassau County roadways when the November 2022 election was over. This helped to more than visually clean up the local environment. In early December many Santos campaign signs were still where they had been abandoned.

I cut the back-to-back red “George” names out of all these “found objects”, and using the thin steel rods that had supported them in the ground, I made sculptures for my grandson George.

Thinking that they are rather clever, I submitted them for an early 2023 art show to be held at the library in Port Washington, Long Island, NY where I live.

After all that quickly happened concerning our newly elected Congressperson, my “art” was rejected by the Port Washington Library Art Advisory Council “after careful consideration”.

I think there were at least two reasons: they are probably readily recognizable as coming from George Santos campaign signs, so they are certainly not “politically correct,” and, “art critics” are usually not very receptive to something so whimsical, unless maybe if Alexander Calder had done it. And, just maybe, they weren’t “art”.

I believe they are very interesting structurally, and if they were just white, without the big red “George” names, they may be more acceptable as art. And, maybe I should have titled them “Untitled” instead of the obvious “George”.

As is, though, my grandson George loves them. I only hope that someday a Leila and a Gloria will run for office so I can do the same for his sisters.

The cut-out “George” units are almost invisibly held in place by the thin steel rods. In three of the six “George” sculptures (“George” Types 1, 2, 3 and 4, “Tower of George” and “Tower of George too”) the “George” units twist, and twist the space around them.

The structures are fairly simple and straightforward, but with the orientation of “George” on both sides of each unit, they appear much more busy and complicated than they actually are.

And, with the forms “triangulated”, though they are very light, they are much more rigid, stable and strong than you might think.

“George – Type 1” is simply three “George” units making up an equilateral triangle. “George – Type 2” is four units making up two equilateral triangles that share one side. “George – Type 3” is six units making up equilateral triangles on both sides of an “open rectangle.”

“George – Type 4” has six units; four are square in plan, with their corners overlapping, and two are diagonals at 90 degrees to each other.

The “Tower of George” is six “George – Type 1” sculptures stacked up, with 18 “George” units total. The “Tower of George too” is two half-height “Tower of George”’s (each has three “George – Type 1” sculptures, with 9 “George” units total) intertwined; one “tower” twists clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. I didn’t have enough “George” units or metal rods to make “Tower of George too” as tall as the “Tower of George.” I realize that my descriptions may be much too detailed for such whimsical objects.

(Republican George Santos surely won the 2022 election simply because of name recognition.

Santos probably had at least 20 times more roadside campaign signs placed around Congressional District 3 than his Democrat opponent. I could have “harvested” even more long after the 2022 election.)

To give the “George Sculptures” scale, one photo shows my grandson George within the “Tower of George.”

In our DNA double-stranded molecules of nucleic acids form a “double helix”. The three faces of the “Tower of George” could be seen as forming a “triple helix” with the same double-stranded molecules of nucleic acids.

Our double helix DNA has to fold to fit inside our cells, but my connected triple helix DNA is rigid and cannot fold. The bonds may also be too strong to be broken and then reconfigured in a different order for mutations to occur and allow for “evolution.”

This triple helix configuration, though, would contain many times the coded genetic information possible with a simple double helix. Could DNA configured as shown in the “Tower of George” be the basis of extraterrestrial life somewhere in our universe?

No, but we could never really know, except in a science fiction short story.

My “art” may be “whimsical”, and hopefully “fun”, but so is much of the artwork by Alexander Calder. Some might think my “sculptures” are not art because of bias against where the name “George” came from, or how it is used.

Without “George” the structural forms, their premise and the way they shape space would all remain the same. If all were white, would they then be more “acceptable”?

After George Santos was expelled from Congress in late 2023, I found a use for the “Santos” last names I had left over after cutting out the “George” first names from his campaign signs. I cut some into four parts and put them together just as I had constructed the “Tower of George too”, and called it “Santos Deconstructed”.

No rational voter should ever miss this particular George Santos, for many reasons, but I will, for only one specific reason. There will never be any more George Santos campaign signs, so my (hopefully) creatively “recycling” them has come to an end.

William Ruh

Port Washington

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