Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Rat Guards
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Al Taylor


Rat Guards

Creation Date


Medium & Support

colored ink, gouache, acrylic and acrylic mica mortar on paper


22 1/16 in. x 13 5/8 in. (56.04 cm x 34.61 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Sarah-Ann and Werner H. Kramarsky

Accession Number



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Art critic Klaus Kertess once described Taylor’s works as “new tools for vision.” Whether Taylor constructed sculptures out of ephemeral objects or focused in his works on paper on the visual potential of the most mundane, he constructed poetic and highly original invitations to look and think anew. This gouache overlays shimmering vertical planes of diluted inks and acrylic paint to generate an image at once mysterious and enticing. For Taylor it was a souvenir from a trip to Hawai’i, where he had noticed tin sleeves around the trunks of coconut trees, ostensibly discouraging jungle rats from stealing the precious fruit. He exhibited a series of works on paper dedicated to those “Rat Guards,” his own term, together with sculptures made from fishing floats washed to the Hawai’ian shores. With an edgy humor and knack for the poetry of trash, Taylor evoked glistening island beauty and continuous motion of the waves in objects a tourist would rather not want to see.

Portfolios: Collections: Works on paper - American Drawings   FEAT|Contemporary Art   Collections: Works on paper