'SINCE WE'RE DESTROYING our planet and its birds," says kinetic sculptor R. Bruce Salinger, "all we'll have left will be automated characters." Like Salinger's bird--which just sits there, with a crafty expression on its face. Then, suddenly, its red eyes flash, its head turns to the right, and it laughs out loud. Its wings start to flap, and it bursts into a few bars of "Bye Bye Birdie." This three-foot-tall showstopper, with a two-foot, welded-steel wingspan and a computer for a brain, is--like all of Salinger's pieces--distinguishable by its wry sense of humor. For instance, a roll of toilet paper is the focal point of his "Medium Is the Message." This device, he says, "will run all day long, printing out classic cliches society pushes on us."
Although Salinger's computer-piece prices start at $2,000, is motorized sculptures sell for $375 each and include biplanes, helicopters and working clocks--all with grinning tear-shape characters he calls "fleas." These little guys operate the mechanism, cranking the main shaft, working the propellers and taking shifts as lookout.
R. Bruce Salinger's works will be on display at the Beckman's Gift Show, Jan. 20 through 23, at the Sports Arena, 3939 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles; (213) 962-5424. Or telephone (209) 295-7851.