The Whole Hog Project: pig art by Susan Medaris

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Ever since we started The Whole Hog Project, I've found myself the recipient of tons of pig gifts--T-shirts, a pooping pig key chain, gummi bacon, bacon mints, gum, and Band-Aids, cans of scary potted pork, a very nice hog and balloon painting by local artist Derek Erdman, and stuffed talking pigs--two in the last month alone. One sings the theme from the Addams Family.

All are pretty goofy, and most possess the absurd kitschy anthropomorphism that defangs the idea of slaughter and helps make the idea of eating animals palatable. Well, I like this collection, but I don't need it to feel OK about my bacon.

Meanwhile, I've been alerted to a more realistic kind of pig representation that I wouldn't mind hanging on the wall. The original caretakers of our mulefoot, Mark Kessenich and Linda Derrickson at Hillspring Farm, sent notice about a friend, Wisconsin "barnyard artist" Susan Medaris, who has a show opening Friday at the Madison Public Library. Appropriately titled The Whole Hog, it features a number of porcine images and objets, including an oil painting of either Crystal or Cherry and one of the piglets in their very early days (pictured). If you find yourself in Madison, the show runs until the 30th.

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