Monday, June 4, 2012

Mexican Menu Atlas Shrugged

In the late 1970s I was a huge Ayn Rand fan. I read "Atlas Shrugged" in 1978 and it was a major inspiration to me. I was not as much interested in the politics as in the psychology and the character building. I could aspire to be a beacon of competence, power, and responsibility, the way Rand's characters appeared. I could be brilliant, exciting, and change the world with my inventions, discoveries, or art. But in reality I was a Harvard dropout working in an underground Mexican fast food place. 

I did this Ayn Rand menu board to express my fannish feelings. I created a "montage" cover with portraits, which in those days still showed up on big fat novel covers. To the left of the picture is Dagny Taggart, the glamorous lady railroad executive. I used actress Kelly McGillis as the model for this portrait. She had played the flight instructor in "Top Gun" and I thought she was forceful enough to play this role. To her right and above is Hank Rearden, the steel magnate who becomes her lover. And at the very top, holding the spiral of green energy, is John Galt, the Promethean engineer who is responsible for changing the entire world with his conspiracy of competence. There is a steel mill, a train, a city, and other Rand symbols including the Dollar Sign which I actually cut out of gold foil-covered cardboard and glued onto my posterboard.

The current movie series of "Atlas Shrugged" promises us another installment later this year. I enjoyed the first entry although Dagny was played by a rather fragile-looking blonde lady instead of the tall, athletic, brown-haired Dagny portrayed by Rand. Rearden in the book was a blonde-haired guy and very tall, so that's how I portrayed him here. 

I miss my enthusiasm for Rand. The world has changed a lot since 1978. But I'm still a Harvard dropout working the cash register selling bananas and beer, dreaming of power and competence.

Ayn Rand Lunch Special is markers and foil collage on posterboard, 21" x 13", winter 1979. Heavily restored in Photoshop.

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