Awkward encounter

After my recent encounter with “Frank,” I’ve decided to pay closer attention to the performing sculptures closer to home. William McElcheran’s sculpture “Encounter” (1997) now lives at my university. I’ve walked past it numerous times and often found its placement near the Student Centre rather bizarre. These two businessmen are quite unlike the crowds of university students who live and work and study around them. And I’ve never been able to tell whether McElcheran was parodying business culture and its complicated performances of class and status – the strained yet polite look on the men’s faces and their clear attempt to avoid physical contact seem to support this interpretation – but he has certainly captured the complicated duet that can result when two strangers encounter one another on a busy urban street.

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