Urgent Museum Notice

The Stags

Close up of The Stags

A sculpture consists of two metallic-orange motor scooters manipulated to resemble male deer. Leather seats become haunches, dashboard dials resemble faces, and multiple rear-view mirrors morph into antlers. The serpentine, hybrid animal-machines appear to spar for dominance.

Patricia Piccinini, The Stags, 2008; Fiberglass, automotive paint, leather, steel, plastic, and rubber, 69 3/4 x 72 x 40 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; © Patricia Piccinini; Photo by Graham Baring

The Stags
Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini’s witty sculpture The Stags presents two mutated motor scooters as living creatures, sparring like male deer in the wild. The scooters’ multiple rear view mirrors appear like entangled antlers, and one motorbike presses its front tire on the “haunch” of the other in a gesture of play or dominance.

The deeper-colored scooter, with its handlebars in a downturned position, evinces a more docile disposition, while the forward-pointing handles and larger array of mirrors on the golden-hued bike suggest an aggressive stance. The scooters’ lifelike interaction contrasts with their sleek forms built from high-tech fiberglass and cast steel.

Piccinini’s futuristic art frequently centers on bioengineering and questions what the outcome might be as humanity and technology become more entwined. A synthesis of nature and technology, the creatures represented in this work are evidently beyond human control.

“Technology has become increasingly natural to us,” Piccinini observes, “and it’s this contemporary condition that has allowed me to imagine a lifecycle for machines which is closer to animals than it is to something more artificial.”

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Patricia Piccinini
  • Title

    The Stags
  • Date

  • Medium

    Automotive paint, Fiberglass, Leather, Plastic, Rubber, Steel
  • Dimensions

    69 3/4 x 72 x 40 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, D.C.
  • Photo Credit

    © Patricia Piccinini; Photo by Graham Baring
  • On Display