Lost Cows

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  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Vanessa Vadim, 2001
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Vanessa Vadim, 2001
2000 to 2001
Cow skeletons, steel, golf bag, golf ball, mirrors, enamel, and Splash Zone compound
76.5 x 91 x 52 inches

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Description: 

Perhaps Dial’s most unforgettable commentary on the inexorable forces of time and the fading agrarian world is his sculpture Lost Cows, created from real cow skeletons.

Perhaps Dial’s most unforgettable commentary on the inexorable forces of time and the fading agrarian world is his sculpture Lost Cows, created from real cow skeletons. Made in 2001, this spooky assemblage is a meditation on the cycle of life, death, and the cosmic food chain so central to rural existence. According to Dial, cows live and die and, in the process, provide us with the things that we need to survive. Here, the cow characters are loosely reassembled from their own bones beneath the triangular roof of the slaughter house. Hanging ominously at the center of the spectral scene is a leather golf bag, Dial’s eccentric and slightly comic symbol for the cow’s transformation into another stage of life, its rebirth. In a further twist, Dial has placed tiny mirrors in the eye sockets of one of his phantom cows to capture the reflections of everyone who comes near. In the end, the piece is a tongue-in-cheek memento mori, a reminder of the rural world and its passing, as well as a glimpse into the ultimate fate that awaits us all. —Joanne Cubbs