Sunday, July 13, 2008


A telephone pole standing on a corner near the old brick Market in Charleston, SC has been transformed into a piece of folk art. It is a mosaic of chewing gum. How did this happen? Perhaps one person got in the habit of sticking gum on the pole. But how many wads of gum did it take before others noticed and began to follow suit? What was that crucial point, when gum-chewing passers-by noticed the design potential in the arrangement of gum and began making their own contributions? I like to imagine that the gum chewers give some thought to the ongoing design of the pole: "I am chewing blue gum today, so I'd better stick it over on the other side, away from those other two blue pieces." To me, this pole is a testament to our fundamental need to make art.