Sculptors: The Uses of Ingenuity

Faceless, armless, toeless, sexless and potbellied, the figures could be store dummies, moon men, dolls, Oscars, or medical textbook diagrams. Ever since their creator, Sculptor Ernest Trova, 39, presented them as "falling men" on rotating wheels and bolted six together into a giant humanoid child's jack for a Famous-Barr department-store exhibition in St. Louis in 1964, the debate has raged over what the little men mean.

In London, when Trova showed them, they were called by one critic "the cumulative image of Man as victim, stereotype, faceless statistic." In Minneapolis, they typified,...

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