Statues for the Proletariat
Sure, we were a little disappointed to discover that the two statues in Billings, Montana, previously identified by tipsters as "Muffler Men," were not.
Yet they are still impressive. They are square-shouldered transmission titans, "Tranny Man" and "Front End Man," fashioned from steel and standing over 10 feet tall. They remind us of Stalinist Soviet propaganda art: workers gazing toward a more productive future in the service of the State.
We've noticed that even though the U.S. security climate is cranked up as high as it must have been in the McCarthy era, Americans are comfortable with community landmarks resembling those once found exclusively behind the Iron Curtain. No one blinks an eye when they pass a Taco joint or hamburger stand sporting a Lenin....
It's difficult to tell whether the Billings artist, Lyndon Fayne Pomeroy, was attempting irony, or truly thought that giant, steel-faced men brandishing car parts would attract more transmission repair business...
We like 'em, and hope to find more blocky worker statues sculpted in Red October Rust.
Update: Sculpture fan Marv Solberg over at dcMemorials.com clued us in on other works of Pomeroy's, in pleasing steel around Billings, including "Working Together" (3 guys building a log cabin) at the United Federal Credit building, 1541 Custer Ave; and a faceless, strong-jawed "Speedy Man" lugging a girder and metal culvert in front of the Roscoe Steel Company, 2847 Hesper Road.