When a boy does a handstand, the muscles in his calves go slack, the blades of his shoulders stick out sharp, his toes twist in concentration, and his torso stretches taut and curved. I note this by looking at a bronze sculpture by the late artist Tuska, a long-time professor at the University of Kentucky and a master of the human form. Tuska sketched and sculpted the figure in all manner of pose, but it is his attention to the upside-down body that strikes me especially. An accordion-fold book filled with pen-and-ink images of Icarus reveals the plethora of ways muscle and bone react when falling. We all know how to stand upright—it is one of the most important physical lessons we learned as a species and we practice individually as children—but the opposite is less true, though equally important. How to be upended, how to tumble, how to plummet—and, hopefully, how to land.
—Lori Waxman 3/23/17 11:36 AM