Hamilton’s newest coronavirus-themed sculpture: ‘6 feet from Kevin’s Bacon’

Local sculptor Nick Bauer has cooked up a sculpture with a taste of the coronavirus pandemic period we’re in.

It’s called “6 Feet from Kevin’s Bacon,” a play on the phrase, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” which is a parlor game in which players try to find the shortest connection between a random actor and the very prolific film star, Kevin Bacon.

Six feet, of course, is the distance health experts recommend people stay separated from each other in an effort to prevent spread of COVID-19. Former Ohio Health Director Amy Acton mentioned Kevin Bacon while discussing the physical-distancing recommendations.

The sculpture is a 6-foot-tall wiggly slice of bacon, made of spray-painted plywood encircled by a stainless steel band that keeps viewers 6 feet from the tasty pork delight.

“My favorite part of the piece is that it is pretty whimsical,” said Sean FitzGibbons, executive director at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum.

“People come out to the park, and they see these substantial, multi-ton sculptures and they’re sitting there thinking, ‘Well what does this mean? It’s big and it’s red, but what am i supposed to be feeling?’ And then they see a piece of bacon sticking up out of the ground with a six-foot barrier around it.”

After being installed at Pyramid Hill, the artwork this week was located outside the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, on its north lawn, where it will stay for a month.

FitzGibbons said his staff planned a big Art & Earth Day event in late April that also celebrated International Sculpture Day. Those in-person activities had to be called off, “But one of the things we kept was we did a call to artists, and we just had stipulation of create a sculpture that deals with this new age of social distancing,” he said.

“We were specifically looking for regional, local sculptors, somebody who could come to the park, and on that day they would install the sculpture,” FitzGibbons said. “As a part of International Sculpture Day, we wanted somebody to be on the park, building a sculpture.”

Bauer installed the sculpture, and that was shown on Facebook Live.

“What was really cool was Sculpture magazine and the International Sculpture Center highlighted what we were doing,” FitzGibbons said. “They spread the word, and people all over the globe were able to see a Hamilton sculptor creating the work.

Bauer, a 44-year-old Badin High School Class of 1996 graduate, is co-owner of his family’s Hamilton business, DBS Stainless Steel Fabracators, and creates sculptures in his free time.

“The notice it’s received has been kind of surprising,” Bauer said. “I’m glad it’s making its way out to the public, and if it can put a smile on their face with everything we’re dealing with right now, that’s great.”

Bauer’s reward was a $500 honorarium.

“I think it’s lots of fun,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center. “It’s very tongue-in-cheek. But you talk about contemporary art? This is as contemporary as it gets. It’s a real, true reflection of the world we’re living in.”

“And we’re all feeling it,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “We’re all living through social distancing. There’s a word we never heard of.”

Pyramid Hill was to open Monday to the general public for the first time, after previously being open only to its members because of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, FitzGibbons said he plans to work more closely with local artists in the future.

“This is just the beginning of Pyramid Hill working more and more with local and regional artists, and having rotating exhibits, and working closely with the arts community here in our area,” he said.

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