Sometimes artists are not so much interested in seeing things anew as they are in simply recording, accurately, what it is that they see. The sculpture of Pat ( Fig. 1- 6 ) almost looks as if it were alive, and certainly anyone meeting the real "Pat" would recognize her from this sculpture. In fact, Pat is one of many plaster casts made from life by John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, resi- Fig. 1- 6 John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, Pat, 1982. dents of the South Bronx in New York City. In 1980, Ahearn moved to the South Bronx and began to work in collaboration with local resident Torres. Torres had learned the art of plaster casting from his uncle, who had cast plaster statues for churches and cemeteries. Together Ahearn and Torres set out to capture the spirit of a community that was financially impover- ished but that possessed real, if unrec- ognized, dignity. "The key to my work is life--lifecasting," says Ahearn. "The people I cast know that they are as responsible for my work as I am, even more so. The people make my sculptures." No one would mistake Claude Monet's represen- tation of the Gare Saint-Lazare ( Fig. 1-9 ) for a por- trait. And yet his depiction of the Paris train station that by 1868 was handling over 13 million commuter passengers a year captures, as fully as Jahangir in Dar- bar, the spirit of its age. Beginning in 1852, Paris had undergone a complete transformation. Long, straight, wide boulevards had been extended across the city. Working-class citizens, who had previously lived in the labyrinth of ancient streets that the boulevards re- placed, were removed to the suburbs, along with the industry they supported. Shops, cafés, and the world's first department stores lined the broad sidewalks of the new promenades. New parks, squares, and gardens were built, and the avenues were lined with over 100,000 newly planted trees. In order to allow traffic to flow seamlessly around the train station, a massive new bridge, the Pont de l'Europe, was built over the tracks. By the time Monet painted the Gare Saint-Lazare in 1877, these changes had been effected. His painting captures the transformation of not only Paris, but modernity itself. Here is a portrait of the new modern world, for better or worse-- both the promise of the railroad, of modern speed and industry, and the atmosphere of steam and smoke created in its wake. All around this scene--and Monet painted it seven times in 1877--are the new open av- enues of airy light, but here, Monet seems to suggest, just below ground level, lies the heart of the new modern city. In describing the world, the artist is free to celebrate and praise it, or critique and ridicule it, or, as is the case here, acknowledge its ambiguities. It is, perhaps, somewhat surprising to recognize that the sculpture of a cocoa pod by African artist Kane Kwei ( Fig. 1-10 ) is actually a coffin. Trained as a car- penter, Kwei first made a decorative coffin for a dy- ing uncle, who asked him to produce one in the shape of a boat. In Ghana, coffins possess a ritual signifi- cance, celebrating a successful life, and Kwei's coffins delighted the community. Soon he was making fish and whale coffins for fishermen, hens with chicks for women with large families, Mercedes-Benz coffins for the wealthy, and cash crops for farmers, such as the 8 1/2-foot cocoa bean coffin illustrated here. In 1974, an enterprising San Francisco art dealer brought ex- amples of Kwei's work to the United States, and today the artist's large workshop makes coffins for both fu- nerals and the art market. Today, Kwei's workshop is headed by his grandson, Anang Cedi, and a video of Cedi's work can be viewed on myartslab. The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center in Nouméa, New Caledonia, an island in the South Pacific, illustrates these principles ( Fig. 1-12 ). The architect is Renzo Piano, an Italian, but the principles guid- ing his design are anything but Western. The Cen- ter is named after a leader of the island's indigenous people, the Kanak, and it is dedicated to preserving and transmitting Kanak culture. Piano studied Kanak culture thoroughly, and his design blends Kanak tradi- tion with green architectural principles. The buildings are constructed of wood and bamboo, easily renewable resources of the region. Each of the Center's 10 pavil- ions represents a typical Kanak dwelling (in a finished dwelling the vertical staves would rise to meet at the top, and the horizontal elements would weave in and out between the staves, as in basketry). Piano left the dwelling forms unfinished, as if under construction, but to a purpose--they serve as wind scoops, catch- ing breezes off the nearby ocean and directing them down to cool the inner rooms, the roofs of which face south at an angle that allows them to be lit largely by direct daylight. As in a Kanak village, the pavilions are linked with a covered walkway. Piano describes the project as "an expression of the harmonious rela- tionship with the environment that is typical of the local culture. They are curved structures resembling huts, built out of wooden joists and ribs; they are con- tainers of an archaic appearance, whose interiors are equipped with all the possibilities offered by modern technology."