Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain

This statement is definitely less satirical and tongue-in-cheek than some of the others. It’s also the first DIA piece to be “installed” in multiple locations throughout St. Louis.

For a little context, in 2014 St. Louis celebrated the 250th anniversary of its founding. In a somewhat uninspired move, a civic group decided to install 250 identical birthday cakes around the city, painted by different artists. 2014 also happened to be one of the darker moments for the region, as the events of Ferguson and Michael Brown rocked the city, laying bare some very deep scars the city needed (and needs) to confront. It was not the greatest time to celebrate our “birthday”.

Regardless of your feelings about the cakes themselves, there’s something rather depressing about leaving them around after the birthday is over. While some of them have been sold at auction or removed, others have just sat, long after 2014 ended. If we had chosen almost anything other than a b-day cake that proudly says “250” on it, maybe we could argue that they should stick around, but given the timely nature of the pieces, leaving them around just feels… sad. It is also a constant reminder of the events of 2014, and maybe then it is fitting that it is depressing.

As a sidenote, the civic organization that made these cakes owned the domain stl250.org, which they apparently failed to renew. It is now a Spanish-language porn/spam site. I wish that was a joke.

 

Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain.
250 painted cake sculptures, installed in 250 “iconic” locations throughout St. Louis, ostensibly placed to commemorate the city’s 250th “birthday” in 2014. Now, long after the “celebration” has ended, many of these cakes sit abandoned, bleaching and cracking in the elements. This citywide piece, created by the artist in tacit collaboration with the painters of these cakes, calls into question what we have to celebrate, and why. In addition to St. Louis’ 250th birthday, 2014 also brought the death of teenager Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, and an eruption unrest due to a legacy of racist policies and racial disparities. Birthdays, much like New Years, elicit both a desire to celebrate as well as reflect back on our accomplishments and failures. How did St. Louis get to where it was in 2014? By leaving these cakes to “spoil”, exposed to the sun, wind, and rain, viewers are encouraged to look back on the failed promises of the past, while maybe, just maybe, making a birthday wish of their own for a more just, equitable future for all of St. Louis’ residents.