To celebrate the release of the new book Monumental: The Reimagined World of Kevin O’Callaghan (Abrams, 2010), 3D Design Chair Kevin O’Callaghan hosted an evening event on Thursday, November 18, at the SVA Theatre.
The night began with a mock WWII-era “newsreel” depicting highlights of O’Callaghan’s career, moving through the larger-than-life 3D design projects created by his students. MFA Design Department Co-chair Steven Heller then introduced O’Callaghan, saying, “Kevin is a mental case, in the best sense of the term: he’s always thinking up ways to make the commonplace into something uncommon and monumental.” O’Callaghan then made an appropriately outsize entrance, riding down the aisle on one of the horses from his 2008 “Horsepower” exhibition.
After dismounting and joining Heller on the theater’s stage, the duo had a lengthy discussion about the work contained in Monumental, providing the audience with a sense of the hard work and dedication O’Callaghan inspires in his students. “I want to see the big effort,” he said, describing the late nights and expansive creativity that are required to transform monster trucks and assault rifles into whimsical artworks that also serve as pointed social commentary.
The evening ended with O’Callaghan riding out of the theater on the sleigh used by the rock group Twisted Sister in its winter holiday show, after which he signed copies of Monumental and treated the crowd to cupcakes and live music.
Image: Photo of Kevin O’Callaghan and Steven Heller by John Wyszniewski.