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Statue of Sleeping Mexican First Covered in New Times Offends, Then Disintegrates

Who could possibly think it'd be a good idea to build an over-sized statue of a stereotypical, sombrero-wearin' lazy Mexican out of sand and put it in the middle of the desert?

The far-out cats at Arizona State University's Future Arts Research, that's who.

As New Times writer Kathleen Vanesian covered in the paper's March 5 edition, the college continues to use a mix of public and private dollars to pay a bunch of artsy-fartsy types to think and maybe, if they feel like it, create something (or hire someone else to create it).

As Vanesian explained, F.A.R.'s multi-cultural masterpiece, "Solo," is a:    

"12-foot-high sculpture on the Tohono O'odham reservation that was commissioned by F.A.R. It was molded from dirt, straw, sand, and water and is designed to disintegrate over time."

The wretched thing collapsed like a mudpie upon being dumped on the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation. Despite "Solo's" disintegration, the sandpile inadvertently has managed to offend at least one Hispanic artist quoted in the Arizona Republic (who had apparently read Vanesian's article before the Republic interviewed him):

"When I saw the picture and read about it, I just thought, 'How sad. What a lost opportunity, and what a waste of money,' " said Zarco Guererro, a prominent Latino artist in Arizona. "For all of my life, that image has represented a lazy Mexican."

Any ideas on what F.A.R. should do for an encore?

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.