Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Russian expatriates who have been working together for more than 30 years, have a knack, writes art curator Mia Fineman, for "transforming the solemn rituals of high art into high comedy." It was with the utmost seriousness, however, that the two, on reading of the elephants' plight, traveled to Thailand and established the Thai Elephant Art School, through whose offices elephants create pop-art masterpieces with palette, brush, and trunk. (Elephants, it seems, have a well-known gift for the visual arts and, in the Thai case, adore the work of Vasily Kandinsky.) Sold to collectors on the world market, pachyderm-painted pieces generated $75,000 at a single early auction, the proceeds of which were used to establish and maintain sanctuaries throughout Thailand.
Illustrated with elephantine artwork and more than 100 photographs documenting Komar and Melamid's project, this book makes a wonderfully offbeat gift, and one of a very good cause. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.