Sunday, 12 April 2020


His massively popular and curatorially acclaimed colossal sculptures having already attracted quite a following as they were paraded, fully assembled in cross-country processions and on display in-situ became the backdrop of the 1986 sci-fi comedy Howard the Duck, Jim Gary (*1939 – †2006) was the only artist invited to present a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, opening on this day in 1990, and featuring dozens of Twentieth Century Dinosaurs, stegosaurs, triceratops, tyrannosaurs, pterodactyls fashioned out of salvaged automobile parts and brightly lacquered in car paint.
When not touring, the dinosaurs resided in Gary’s garden or were on loan to his favourite cafes and restaurants (hence the appellation for one installation, the dinersaur), sort of like those art cow statues (called CowParade and conceived by Swiss artist Pascal Knapp) of its day. The term above was an encomium to Gary in an obituary by biographer and reporter for The Guardian Andrew Roth, coining the neologism to describe his creations.