Happy Change of Venue Friday, when we examine some non-legal material on our casual Friday.

The State Bar Convention ended three weeks ago, but this past Wednesday a 40-pound memory of the event was delivered to my office.

The bronze sculpture that adorns my desk sits almost three feet tall and glowers—without eyes—at anyone who crosses my threshold. It was created by Arizona artist John Dawson, and I can’t exactly explain what I like about it. But let me try.

Maybe what I like is the same characteristic that has almost uniformly led visitors to grimace at the piece.

It appears to be a businessman, stern of visage, whose fingers are folded together, in certainty or judgment.

He doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart, and there may be no better representation of, I don’t know, the sterility of Wall Street or the rapacity of unvarnished greed. Bringing the impression home is the fact that his head, his face, is incomplete. Or rather, it appears that it was once complete, but then a portion was wrenched free violently.

Sure, that may make some recoil from the old fellow. But to me it makes him more an Everyman. The less a Person he seems, the more personal the sculpture becomes. Not seeing his eyes makes me think, that could be me. Maybe I should curb my own impulses toward certainty and judgment.

John Dawson

Of course, those are characteristics that editors cherish, so I’m unlikely to eradicate them entirely. In fact, I had been planning to take the sculpture home rather than leave him in the office. But seeing the adverse reaction of many people I work with has made me reassess: If he can evince that much displeasure just by sitting there, he’s staying. The curmudgeon in me is loving that.

By now you’re likely wondering what all this has to do with the Convention. Well, the short of it is that I won the bronze at the Convention’s cool silent auction. All the proceeds benefited the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center, which was an additional advantage.

For more on John Dawson’s work, click here and here.

Here are a few more photos of the sculpture. Or stop by anytime to see it. Despite appearances, he—and I—will be happy you did.

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