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Tombstone 1

Tombstone 1

Dean McNeil, 1987

This granite sculpture is located in a small sculpture graden along the Northern wing of the Visual Arts Center. The sculpture was the gift of the artist.

This tombstone/sculpture was originally part of an indoor installation in McNeil’s 1991 solo exhibition at the University Art Museum, Santa Barbara. Titled, “Pioneers of Safety,” the exhibition examined the fragile illusions most people maintain about feelings of safety and security. McNeil had the tombstone fabricated at Santa Barbara Monumental a company that routinely produces headstones. Originally, the sculpture was exhibited with a grouping of little duck-shaped hand soaps resting on the top edge of the stone. Between and under the mundane decorative forms of birds pecking at something on a lawn on, the artist has engraved words on the tombstone shaped sculpture in non-type print “NOW I UNDER STAND,” suggesting not only an intellectual post-mortem comprehension but also a final resting place. “IT’S TOO LATE” is inscribed on the back, which may seem like a joke but also speaks to the human struggle to be understood as a type of Holy Grail – sought after but not quite within grasp during life. It is up to the viewer to decided whether a final wisdom is of value, and if so, to whom.

Dean McNeil (1957–2013) was primarily known as a photographer and installation artist. His B.F.A. degree is from Antioch College and his M.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts. He has exhibited internationa

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Location: Fullerton

Medium type: Granite

Date created: 1987

Dimensions: 24" x 36" x 4"


800 North State College Boulevard, Fullerton, CA, 92831


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