(AMERICAN, BORN 1971)
Whisker the War Werm, 2014–15
Laumeier Sculpture Park Commission, with funds from Nancy and Ken Kranzberg, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Ellen and Durb Curlee and L.E. Sauer Machine Co.
Local artist Tom Huck designed two bug-like playground “springers,” Buzzer and Dottie, and a climbing apparatus, Whisker the War Werm, based on a series of his original woodcut designs inspired by the many insects inhabiting the micro-environment of the Park. Huck’s first public artwork, these monumental insects illustrate how both art and nature, when experienced together—and with a sprinkle of mischief—can inspire creativity and amusement in both children and adults.
A giant creepy crawler like Whisker the War Werm, 2014, would be incredibly mobile and able to carry heavy loads without breaking a sweat. A scarab beetle can roll the equivalent of 20 times its own weight in nutrient-rich dung without catching its breath (the humble scarab beetle also beat mankind to the wheel by millions of years!). Dottie’s death’s head design is reminiscent of the costumes worn by the Black Metal group, Gwar—complete with fangs, mandibles and horns. With each artwork, the effect is a blend of slightly comic and horrific. Combined with the more biologically correct body designs, each sculpture is part fantasy, part science.
Sculpture Interaction Guideline: Play With Care
Tom Huck was born in 1971 in Potosi, Missouri. He received his M.F.A. in Printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis and his B.F.A. in Drawing from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1993. Huck's selected solo and group exhibitions include the St. Louis Art Museum; International Print Center, New York; Kumu Art Museum, Tallin, Estonia; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; Daum Art Museum, Sedalia, Missouri; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin; Biennale Internationale d’Estampe Contemporaine de Trois-Rivieres, Quebec; Mesa Arts Center, Arizona; University of Windsor Gallery of Art, Windsor, Ontario; COBRA Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; Lamar Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. His woodcut prints are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Milwaukee Art Museum; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; New York Public Library; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas; the St. Louis Art Museum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Huck earned a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2011. He resides in St. Louis where he owns Evil Prints, a studio where he produces his own woodcuts and offers printmaking classes.