PRINT February 1997


It’s important to know that “monster” is a verb as well as a noun. One says: “he monsters.” Or, more to the point: “Victor Estrada monsters.” By which, I mean: Victor Estrada is a man who makes monsters, taking our collective heteronomy and giving it shape. He does so with a kind of Rabelaisian playfulness and gravity; like the monk, he’s a creator of charming grotesqueries, prodigies, marvels. He gives us sculptures (and paintings) of excessive creatures, things that are both more—and less—than human; they look like escapees from some Disney studio run amok, at once funny and pathetic, horrifying and curiously warm.

In the now-(in)famous 1992 LA Museum of Contemporary Art show “Helter Skelter,” where he first came to the larger art world’s attention, Estrada exhibited a piece called Baby/Baby, 1991: it was a thirty-foot-long sculpture of a bicephalic baby, heads at either end of a wormlike

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