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Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Body Works


The weekend was full of visual treats.


First we toured Bodyworks, a series of incredible dissections of the human body forever immortalized in plastic. It took me back to Gross Anatomy days and filled me again with the wonder of the complexity of the human body. The most incredible was a skating duo, posed with the woman in the death spiral pose. No photos were allowed, unfortunately.


From there we drove to Austin and somehow made our way to the Omni Hotel on the south side of town. Austin is not an easy city for driving; it has grown beyond available real estate and the result is a veritable maze of roads. The event for the weekend was a Motorcycle Safety Foundation conference; I was free to attend or do whatever I wished as I was a ‘guest’ and not a participant.


Such a meeting of leather and chains and shaved heads and paunches! One person had a walker and I wondered how that fit on his motorcycle. Others looked like folks you might see in the grocery store or in line at a church supper. Some rode their motorcycles; some their pickups, and others arrived in a variety of cars and vans and motor-homes. A new trike was on display, a Can-Am Spyder in a gorgeous color of Roadster Red and I was invited to sit on it and try it out. (I am remarkably tempted to schedule a road trial at the dealership)


Despite the outward appearances, the group was remarkably cohesive. Everyone was intent on the information and enjoyed chatting with each other during the breaks. Late morning I decided to visit the Umlauf sculpture garden with the aid of my trusty GPS. Tom was a little slow that morning and I ended up driving through a lot of Austin before backtracking to the Sculpture Garden just off Barton Spring Road. I spent some time along the river walk; lots of folks out walking their dogs, kayaking, fishing, biking, or just enjoying the pleasant weather.


The Umlauf sculpture garden is a serene and lovely place although showing the effects of the winter weather and the long-standing drought. The sculptures had been weatherized and I was invited to touch them and photograph as I wished. The influence of Picasso and Durer or possibly Goya was evident in the works. Certain features were enlarged almost to the point of caricature but the knowledge of anatomy was clear. My favorite was Lazarus and I sat for a half hour and sketched.


The late afternoon and evening were spent with Mike—who patiently sorted out four huge boxes of books– and the others in our group. Carl always finds some place wonderful for the evening meal and Saturday night was no exception. Saltlick Barbecue was our destination, a place so popular that police officers direct the parking traffic. We sat under huge live oak trees and listened to live music for half an hour or so before being summoned to our table. The plates were huge; the sauce spicy and my turkey sandwich big enough for two. Peach or blackberry cobbler and pecan pie with ice cream were suitable ends to the meal—and I had a spoonful of each.


Sunday was a lazy morning for me while the guys finished up their conference. Driving home, we finished up our book on tape—Dracula.

More photos of Austin and the Umlauf Sculpture garden can be found at:

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