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New Lucille Ball Sculpture Replaces 'Scary Lucy' Statue in Celoron, New York

Lucille Ball was often described as funny and approachable—but a grimacing, life-size bronze statue of the comedian, erected in her hometown of Celoron, New York, in 2009, looked so unlike the beloved I Love Lucy sitcom star that it earned the nickname “Scary Lucy.” Now, after years of public backlash, CNN reports that a new sculpture modeled in Ball’s likeness was finally unveiled last weekend, on Saturday, August 6.

Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost presided over the ceremony, which was fittingly held in the town’s Lucille Ball Memorial Park on the 105th anniversary of Ball’s birthday. Sculptor Carolyn Palmer, who beat out more than 65 sculptors in a national competition to create the upgraded Lucy, accompanied him.

Palmer’s bronze Lucy sculpture weighs 750 pounds. It depicts the curly-haired actress mid-stride, clutching her polka-dotted dress skirt with one hand while holding a purse with the other. The entire project took Palmer around nine months to complete.

"I not only wanted to portray the playful, animated and spontaneous Lucy, but also the glamorous icon,” Palmer, who gained inspiration by watching and re-watching episodes of I Love Lucy, said in a statement quoted by NPR. "I just hope that all the Lucy fans are pleased and that Lucille Ball herself would have enjoyed this image of her."

Palmer’s statue replaces “Scary Lucy,” a work by artist Dave Poulin that portrayed Ball clutching a bottle of the make-believe health tonic Vitameatavegamin that was featured in the 1952 I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Does a TV Commercial." The statue quickly became infamous, and in 2012, fans of Ball even launched an online campaign called "We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue."

Poulin—who received death threats over the work—ended up issuing a public apology in a letter to media outlets including The Hollywood Reporter. "I take full responsibility for 'Scary Lucy,' though by no means was that my intent or did I wish to disparage in any way the memories of the iconic Lucy image," Poulin wrote in the letter. "From the day of its installation, I have shared my disappointment in the final outcome and have always believed it to be by far my most unsettling sculpture, not befitting of Lucy's beauty or my ability as a sculptor."

Poulin volunteered to re-make the sculpture—initially for a hefty price, and later for free. His offer was turned down, and in 2015, Yahoo reports, Mayor Schrecengost formed a committee of Celoron residents to choose a new artist. Palmer—whose past works have included Pope Francis, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and Thomas Jefferson—was “the best sculptor we could have ended up with,” Schrecengost said in a statement quoted by The Guardian.

The brand-new National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York offered to adopt the old Scary Lucy statue. But since it’s become such a popular tourist attraction, Schrecengost told CNN affiliate WIVB that the frightening statue will remain in Lucille Ball Memorial Park. There, it will stand alongside Palmer’s new work.

"Even though the other statue is called 'Scary Lucy' or 'Ugly Lucy,' whatever the people want to call it, it's still artwork and not all artwork is beautiful,” Schrecengost told WIVB.

[h/t CNN]

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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