Stucco Is Me, Stucco Is You
Hand model: Marie Rice
Accessories from Final Choicestucco(stko) noun. plural stuccoes or stuccos. 1. A durable finish for exterior walls, usually composed of cement, sand and lime and applied while wet. 2. A fine plaster for interior wall ornamentation, such as moldings. 3.A plaster or cement finish for interior walls. 4. Stuccowork. verb, transitivestuccoed, stuccoing, stuccoes or stuccos.
Stucco. Say the name: "Stuck. Oh." Feel the power. In the long human history of land-consumption-in-order-to-churn-out-identically-shaped-pastel-colored-box-abodes, stucco has risen like Phoenix—a guiding light to the land of planned communities; communities bound together with an admixture of blended sand and chicken wire; communities that are OC.
But though it surrounds us, protects us, coats and comforts us, do we truly know this precious, gray-tinted gold?
It's not hard to believe that man has had his head up his ass regarding stucco for the past 1,000 years. People these days are way smarter than people in those days. For example, in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, "artists" mistakenly used stucco in a variety of abusive ways, flamboyantly creating pretentious "murals," or stucco trompe l'oeil, in Rococo and Baroque palaces and pilgrimage churches. What a bunch of assholes. But people didn't know any better, you see? They didn't know that stucco is for houses, houses with Berber carpeting neatly vacuumed in rows, houses with skylights and motion-detecting floodlights, houses with faux-rock finishes. Duh.
English architect John Nash (1752-1835) almost got it right, but the silly bastard used his stucco on that "Buckingham Palace" thing instead of the world-renowned and host venue of the 2008 Olympics, Ye Olde Strip Mall. What a maroon. "Ethnic" people weren't any better, of course, being "ethnic" and everything. Just check out Teotihuacn (Place of the Gods), the first truly urban Mesoamerican civilization, established during the first century, which features the stuccoed Pyramid of the Sun and Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Cholula, the largest pre-Columbian blah, blah, blah. An obvious stuccoian faux pas, mis amigos.
No, only in our apple-pie land have we truly ventured to stretch the limits of decorative building materials. We don't need some spaghetti twirler like Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), the most important sculptor, architect, painter, draftsman, stage-set designer, playwright of the Italian Baroque, and big-shot creator of the stuccoed altar canopy in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome in 1633 and the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in 1645, telling us what to do with il stucco. Look around, my contemporary, superior friends. We have stuccoed Wal-Marts, Blockbuster Video stores, the golden arches, for Saint Peter's sake. And, hellooo—in OC, we actually live in stucco. Bernini? What a fag!
Yes, comrades, purely due to the American love and propagation of the oatmealian slush called stucco, we can travel halfway across the world, walk into a remote Taiwanese village, and find an exact replica of our own home sweet home. Stucco is the bond of the Everyman. It coats the bridges we build between one country and another, one culture and another, one people and another. Stucco says, "You are me, and I am you, and we are we." Trowel it on every surface, blast it into every hole—stucco protects you from the world, protects you from one another. The other that is you. And never forget what George Orwell once giddily remarked while blowing his Packard with the creamy stuff: "In every one of those little stucco boxes there's some poor bastard who's never free except when he's fast asleep and dreaming that he's got the boss down the bottom of a well and is bunging lumps of coal at him." Bless you, George, bless you.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Orange County art and theater scene.