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Rubber Ducky

The Duck at the Chrysler Museum of Art
The Duck at the Chrysler Museum of Art
Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art

To celebrate its grand re-opening after a year and a half of renovations, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, a fine arts institution of fine repute, brought to America a large rubber ducky.

A very large rubber duck. A forty foot tall rubber duck.

It was a brilliant artistic statement that reveals bold thinking at the new Chrysler. Floating on a large body of water, dwarfing surrounding structures, The Duck puts things in perspective. It towers in front of the monumental statue "The Torch Bearers" which stands imposingly in front of the museum. In front of an institution containing, among other things, a dignified collection of what is traditionally thought of as art, The Duck caricatures prejudices about what constitutes art.

The Duck on The Hague inlet in front of the Chrysler is actually one of several ducks varying in size up to 89 feet. One Duck or another has appeared all over the world. The Duck's creator, Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman, designed the Ducks for his 'Spreading Joy Around the World' tour in 2007. Things haven't always worked out. Last New Year's Eve in Taiwan, the 59 foot version exploded. But even that horrific event evokes feelings. Isn't that what rubber duckies do?

Isn't that what art is supposed to do?

The Duck is on display at the Chrysler Museum of Art through Memorial Day weekend. And, yes, there is great art inside, too, including one of the finest collections of glasswork in the world.

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