This is a hard one to explain, befitting number nine of anything.
Let’s start with the word detritus. The source of all answers, the OED, defines detritus as “waste or disintegrated material of any kind; debris.” Fair enough.
Picture thousands of small pieces of beach detritus assembled into whimsical sculptures. The yard makes Dr. Seuss look tame.
The artist is Mark Olivier. His amp goes up to 11.
His work and influence spill into the neighborhood, several houses north and across the street. Read about him and look at his website, yes, but drive or walk by. And stop. And look. Amazing.
Olivier is always adding, and so return visits have some element of novelty. It is a natural candidate for the Seven Quirky Wonders of Berkeley, and a good drive-by for out-of-town visitors. Beach trash. Beach art. Beach Boys. Beach bums. See it. Marvel.
I have more photographs, a surfeit of riches. But these give the flavor. What brilliant quirk, what quirky brilliance. It would have been enough. Dayenu.
But there is more. On the lawns of Olivier’s neighbors:
Sweet Babu the elephant has left Colusa since these photos were taken. She is now on Stannage, in front of the home of Severin Oliver.
Best in Show now lives in the window of McGuire Real Estate on College just south of Ashby.
McGuire’s window was also the showroom for the shoe.
It now lives in Oakland at the home of Arlene Mayerson and Allan Tinker.
Dick Wezelman bought this face for his wife Beany’s 70th birthday.
It hangs near the African mud hut in their back yard.
Bruce Dodd’s daughter Kate bought him this Olivier piece, named “American bristle bison.”
It sits in Dodd’s garden below the giant orange. I took this photo at the book launch party there on August 5th – Olivier on the left, Dodd on the right.
And the Winged Victory of Samothrace, modeled after a 2nd century BC marble statue in the Louvre, has moved a few blocks to the home of Phyllis Rothman.
A metal piece by Oivier on Albina.
And then there is the surfing Ninja Turtle around the corner made with a wheelbarrow for the turtle’s shell but that will have to wait for another day. Berkeley is much quirkier and much better for Mark Olivier’s creative quirk. Can’t argue with my friend –