Sunday, June 22, 2008

In Which We Visit Coupland, TX

Through some random spot of serendipity, I came across a website for the Huntington Sculpture Foundation, based in Coupland. Coupland (population 135) is a wee flyspeck of a town, about 7 miles north of Elgin on 95. It's got about 7 streets in the town proper, which sits on a little rise overlooking the farmland around it. It has a couple of churches, 3 or 4 old brick storefront buildings, and an old white two-story schoolhouse. It also has this sculpture garden, which seems just odd.

The sculpture garden contains the work of a guy named Huntington, who moved to Coupland from other, more glamorous locales, and it's fun stuff. It's made of large slabs of (what I take to be) granite combined in surprising ways with large curving sheets of metal, often pierced.

So it has a very elemental yet industrial look. It makes you think of silos and refineries and pipes and rock quarries and mines--things that are harsh and jagged and not at all snuggly or inviting or people-ish. They are the opposite of sofas, I guess is what I'm saying.

Except that he takes all these strong shapes and hard surfaces and makes crevices and flat spots at bum-height and little curled-in aluminum rooms. So even though the materials are so astringent, they call to your curiosity, and you can't help climbing on them and over them and in them. Which is probably the most fun I've had in a sculpture garden since... ever.

Of course Coupland is an agricultural town, so it does have silos and (maybe?) grain elevators. But on the whole, this seems like an oddly industrial idiom for this little town.

And it doesn't have very any mature trees yet, so you wouldn't want to visit when it's hot (we went in the evening during a blissful overcast hour). But I'm rather tickled to have it in my own backyard. I want to take breakfast picnics there with Matt and drink mimosas by the statues.

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