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Untitled Turkey XIV

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icelandic lambswool, chickenwire, stuffed turkey and mixed media on wood base
turkey: 28 x 28 x 27 inches; base: 30 x 35 1/2 x 31 inches

About This Artwork

A fluff of fur sits atop a modest wooden pedestal in Untitled Turkey XIV. Upon closer look, a tiny beak peeks through the fleece, a hint of the complete stuffed turkey underneath. Composed of both sculpture and plinth, the work resembles at once a strange neoclassical marble bust and a ridiculous Frankensteinian experiment. Between 1992 and 1994, Meyer Vaisman made a series of taxidermic turkeys sporting an assortment of costumes, from wigs fit for Marie Antoinette to feathers, fur, and antlers. Here, Vaisman’s turkey is outfitted in sheep’s clothing, and, unlike a wolf in such attire that poses a serious threat, the Thanksgiving fowl takes on comical parody. Untitled Turkey XIV suggests the absurdity of our own ego-driven trots, presenting the formation, the trying on, of identity and the discrepancies between inner psychologies and outward personas that make up our composite selves.