Defending the Red Rabbit

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission has provided some additional perspectives regarding the big red $800,000 rabbit housed in the new terminal at Sacramento International Airport.  The piece has received mixed reviews and perhaps they have felt the need to defend the poor thing.  Here are their explanations in a nutshell:

  • not typically what people think of when they think of Sacramento (perhaps trying to abolish the image of a cowbell?)
  • the commission believed it would create buzz for Sacramento (that it has certainly done)
  • iconic, fun, whimsical (“whimsical” is just a nice way of saying “arbitrary, pointless”)
The artist is Lawrence Argent, and he too is sticking up for his work:
  • red = Ferrari = speed (perhaps suggestive of the velocity by which passengers will depart the terminal when they catch sight of the artwork?)
  • many stories from different cultures are associated with the rabbit (more on this below)
  • playing around with the idea that something has come from the outside and leapt into the building
Maybe if we look at the famous rabbits we already know or the traits that rabbits have come to symbolize, we can come to understand “Leap” a little better.
Rabbits as Cultural Icons:
  • childhood, purity (i.e., Peter Rabbit)
  • sexuality (i.e., Playboy Bunnies)
  • fertility
  • mischief
Famous Rabbits:
  • Bugs Bunny
  • the March Hare
  • Br’er Rabbit
  • the Trix rabbit
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Roger Rabbit
  • Thumper
  • Duracell Bunny