Bunnies in the Lake
“What’s the deal with bunnies?” is a question you’ve probably heard around Auburn more than once. Rubberneckers driving down South College Street headed toward Jordan-Hare Stadium will notice two men dressed as bunnies in the lake in front of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, and it has created quite a stir within the community. At first glance some viewers believed there were real men playing dress up in the lake, and some have said they were very intrigued when they first discovered the sculpture.
Alex Podesta’s Self-Portrait as Bunnies (The Bathers) is a part of the museum’s commitment to presenting outdoor sculpture. His unforgettable piece took two awards: second place in “Out of the Box: A Juried Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition,” plus a fan favorite award voted on by the community.
Podesta is an artist from New Orleans, Louisiana, who created this particular sculpture as a part of an ongoing series, in which the artist draws parallels between the role of children’s imagination and how that plays a part in the lives of adults.
Marilyn Laufer, the museum’s director, states, “What a fabulous piece it is, because it works on so many levels. It grabs your attention and makes you smile, and once you know that it’s a self-portrait of the artist, you start to realize that there is something else going on here.”
So what is this piece really all about, what is the artist trying to say? Laufer continues, “A good work of art will make you ask all kinds of questions. The best experience is to stay with it, talk about it, and engage in a conversation with friends. In the end you realize it’s a very serious piece that is about understanding self and recognizing your own vulnerabilities and yet these serious issues are addressed through humor. ”
Whether you’re coming into town to cheer on your Auburn Tigers, or are a part of the opposing team, most football fans can agree that these bunnies are pretty interesting.
“Experiencing art in a museum is one thing. Experiencing art in nature is a whole other kind of thing, and I want the art experiences we offer to be as diverse and fulfilling as possible,” says Laufer.
These bunnies have become a staple in the Auburn community, creating conversations about meaning and art even among those who may have never been to Auburn University’s art museum before. Hopefully this piece will continue to spark these conversations for years to come.
View the Out of the Box Digital Exhibition for more information on this sculpture and others in the exhibition.