“Pterodactylus Mechanikus” 1988
Cast cement and plastic
24” X 25” X 5”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Projectile Launching Tool” 1989
Cast cement and “two dollar” pistol
16” X 14” X 3”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Automatic Cutting Tool” 1989
Cast cement and switchblade knife
13” X 12” X 3”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Multiuse Tool” 1989
Cast cement and Swiss army knife
13” X 13” X 3”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Selachii Mechanius” 1988
Cast cement and plastic
8” X 9 ½” X 3”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Gallus Mechanius” 1988
Cast cement and plastic
9 ½” X 8” X 3”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Gastropoda Mechanius” 1988
Cast cement and plastic
10” X 10 ½” X 2 ½”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Batoidea Mechanius” 1988
Cast cement and plastic
15” X 14” X 2”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Scorpius Mechanius” 1988
Cast cement and plastic
12 ½” X 13” X 2”

“Venus” 1989
Cast cement and head-less Barbie

“Voodoo Barbie” 1994
Mixed media
16” X 8” X 3 ½”
Photo: ©1994 Dustin Shuler

“Kali Barbie” 1996
Mixed media
15 ½” X 8 ½” X 4”
Photo: ©1986 Dustin Shuler

“Harpy Barbie” 1990
Mixed media
22” X 14” X 14”
Photo: ©1990 Dustin Shuler

“Jurassic Barbie” 1995
Plastic and rock
21 ½” X 18 ½” 8”
Photo: ©1995 Dustin Shuler

“Jump Jet” 1982
Mixed media
13” X 13 ½” X 11”
Photo: ©1982 Dustin Shuler

“Unfortunate Barbie” 2004
Mixed media
6” X 12” X 12”
Photo: ©2005 Dustin Shuler

“In Recognitionů” 2005
Mixed media
24” X 8 ¾” X 8 ¾”
Photo: ©2005 Dustin Shuler

“In Situ” 1986
Dry like bed soil and plastic
14 ½” X 19” X 1 ¼”
Photo: ©1986 Dustin Shuler

“American Party Animal” 1992
Mounted Jackalope head
and beer cans
21 ½” 11” X 16”
Photo: ©1992 Dustin Shuler

“Red Sail Bug” 1989
Mixed media
39” X 16 ½” X 14 ½”
Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler

“Skinned Phone” 1987
Mixed media
53” 16 ½” X 3 ½”
Photo: ©1987 Dustin Shuler

“Infanticide” 1982
Mixed media
15” X 13” X 7”
Photo: ©1982 Dustin Shuler

“Hit Radio” 1981
Shot-gunned radio
36” X 8” X 5”
Photo: ©1981 Dustin Shuler

“Disconnected” 1980
Shot-gunned wall phone
21 ½” X 4” X 5”
Photo: ©1980 Dustin Shuler

“Chaos Contained by Order” 1978
15” X 12” 9”
Photo: ©1978 Dustin Shuler

“Super Nova” 1980
Shot-gunned mixed media clock
11” diameter
Photo: ©1980 Dustin Shuler

“Threat Level Three” 2005
Cement, steel and gun
24 ½” 12 ½” X 8 ¼”
Photo: ©2005 Dustin Shuler

“The Spirit of Dead Deer Canyon” 1990
Bone, linen string, dry pigment
and plastic diamond
21” 6” X 5”
Photo: ©1990 Dustin Shuler

“Fifi” 1987
Mixed media
18” 14” X 7”
Photo: ©1987 Dustin Shuler

“Ode to Lefty” 1984
Mixed media
15 ½” X 11 ½”
Photo: ©1984 Dustin Shuler



Dustin Shuler’s Future Fossils and Urban Relics
Curated by Christopher Leeder

How will we be judged by future civilizations? Archeologists millennia from now will surely puzzle over the relics of our time – a headless Barbie, a flattened phone, a rusting gun. What stories will our junkyards and our landfills tell about us?

Sculptor Dustin Shuler excavates the cultural connotations of modern iconic objects by viewing them with an anthropologist’s eye. He is known for his large-scale public pieces which skewer the carcasses of cars on a massive spike or hang their skinned pelts on the side of a building, wryly connecting our modern trophy pieces to their primal roots. This exhibit shows him evolving from a hunter to a gatherer, as these smaller and more intimate pieces focus on the commonplace consumer goods of our daily lives.

The 27 mixed-media sculptures and assemblages in “Archeo-Futurism” fall into two groups: future fossils and urban relics. The fossils take toys and weapons - the tools of play and war – and send them millennia into the future where they have become cryptic antiquities, as mysterious tribal totems. The urban relics suggest a future anthropologist’s attempts to reconstruct his strange finds – doll parts, toy cars, model airplanes - and to decode and interpret the rituals of our times.

Humor plays a major role in Shuler’s work, as when he mounts a stuffed poodle head on a trophy plaque. He has said he seeks to “change associations normally attached to an object” and inspire the viewer to “see something very familiar from a new perspective.” Whether this is viewing cars as herd animals to be captured and skinned or Barbie dolls as the strange fetishes of a lost cult, Shuler is unimpressed with modern society’s advancements and wonders how far from our primitive ancestors we have really come.

Shuler’s self-stated enthusiasm for “all the –ologies,” from archeology to technology to zoology, is reflected in the eclectic nature of his work. Trained in painting and drawing, he learned about sculptural processes and techniques through working in manufacturing plants and factories, and brings this synthesis of skills to his art. He uses the tools of an archeologist (chisels, saws, dental picks) to precisely “excavate” the fossils. He incorporates found skulls, bones and feathers into the relics - and in the case of “Self Portrait as a Youth” his own teeth and hair.

Following in the Duchampian tradition, assemblage artists often reflect on the accumulation and debris of modern consumerist culture, from John Chamberlain’s wrecked auto parts to Ed Keinholz’s decayed artifacts and George Herm’s rusted scrap. Dustin Shuler asks us to take the long view and consider how our lives will be read by future generations. The archeologist and the anthropologist excavating our lost civilization will ask not only how we used these relics, but why. And we would do well to ask ourselves: how primitive are we?

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