But this is not a man to write a letter to the mayor. Smith bought a house and yard in Hammond and dove into work on his second (AAHM&BBVA). Smith is like being hit by a force of nature and culture combined.His first was in Aurora, Illinois (see the SPACES entry on this site.) In January 2013 Don Howlett and I left the pre-Mardi Gras, pre-Super Bowl buzz brewing in New Orleans and drove across the Lake Pontchartrain causeway to Hammond. Steeped in Baptist/Gospel traditions he explodes into brilliant, extemporaneous oration, backed up by the ocean of sculptures, bunker-like fixed monuments, and arrangements of found and created objects that illustrate his invectives.The smaller figures bring to mind two racist stereotypes from American material culture that are also about knee-high: the step-‘n-fetchit or jockey yard ornament, and the “silent butler” smoking stands.
The site is punctuated with American flags of all sizes, many of which are store-bought cloth flags waving in the breezes.
The yard is covered with sections of carpet and other materials, creating pathways through the ever-changing arrangements of many hundreds of figural sculptures and other forms.
Still in the “front yard,” we encountered a poignant cluster of child figures in progress, Dr.
Armatures are made of tree limbs and sticks, dimensional lumber scraps, metal, or discarded objects, then all generally covered with a mixture of plaster and cement, and often incorporating manufactured objects to give them a narrative purpose or identity.
When the forms are completed he coats them with thick coats of paint.