Gunrunner, 2007. Solid and laminated hardwoods, 40 x 120 x 60 in.

Michael Cooper: Mastery with a Message

It looks like an ordinary tricycle that any three-year-old might ride. But it’s made entirely of wood (wenge and sycamore), and if you give it more than a passing glance, you notice a wooden gun mounted under the seat, pointing in a forward direction. You might well shudder when you see it. What is such a perpetrator of violence doing in so innocent an object? Michael Cooper’s Trainer Tricycle III (1993), one of a series of wooden tricycles, was part of the jaw-dropping 2013 touring exhibition “Michael Cooper: A Sculptural Ody­s­sey, 1968–2011,” organized by the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco. Different people react to Cooper’s works in various ways. Some fall in love with the exquisite craftsmanship, including such tours de force as ethereal pinstriping of light and dark woods…see the entire article in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.