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contemporary art

Loren Madsen's Second Corpse
2nd Corpse

Loren Madsen: 2nd Corpse

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

New York based artist Loren Madsen makes sculptures whose shapes derive from statistical data. Although they seem like playfully abstract organic forms, Madsen's works are actually multi-dimensional graphs plotting complex historical trends such as cost-of-living indexes, public opinion polls, and homicide and execution rates.

The inch-worm shaped sculpture 2nd Corpse analyzes murder rates by graphing the number of people killed by guns and other means as well as the number of shooters from ages one to ninety.

The length of 2nd Corpse is divided into ninety equal parts of laminated and carved wood, each on representing a year of age, from infancy to the ninetieth year, moving from the thin horizontal to the thick vertical end.

The width of each section is determined by the average (1976 to 1998) number of non-gun homicides per year for people at that age. The vertical dimension is set by the number of gun homicides. The number of shooters in that same age bracket determines the height of the arch under the sculpture.

By giving concrete form to the information we are accustomed to receiving dry numbers. Madsen challenges unquestioned assumptions about emotional issues and prods a fresh visualization and understanding of broad social developments.

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