“Erect not a monument in my honor, sing not the hymns of my feats, for if my deeds are truly worthy my name will transcend and endure.”
Rinaldo Vincent Krugan (1940- 20014) is an overlooked figure in American history and an even more overlooked figurine in the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ziggy Horowitz sculpted the six inch figurine of Krugan as a tribute to a man who: “exudes both inspiration and well-gin.”
When Horowitz was asked why he decided to make the statue of such a great man merely six inches, he explained the piece was created during his Neo-Pipeurian period, wherein he shared an efficiency in Soho and was forced to carry out all of his work in a drainpipe under the sink. He blames the second nose on the statuette—situated where the right ear would normally be—on the chemical cleansers that were stored there at the time. His last great work, depicted above, is of all the famous leaders people threw shoes at. Krugan gives no other explanation for his motivation behind the work, except to say, “The piece speaks for itself.”
R.V. Krugan rose majestically from his humble beginnings as a Beverly Hills playboy to capture the heart of the art community. Some say he even invented First Friday, which he called First First Friday (FFF). Krugan’s autobiography From Jags to Bitches remains a tragic one. His moods throughout his life became ever more unpredictable due to a genetic nose disorder, which by the end of the sixties would leave him smelless. Despite Krugan’s olfactory handicap, he continued to write and paint during the mid-70s but by the 80s he turned to literature.
“Literature, the highest of all arts, is arranging words in certain ways that capture ideas and stuff, like wonderfully worded things…”
The Krugan Foundation later regretted not being able to fit that entire phrase onto his tombstone. The beginning of the end came early for Krugan when at Mann’s Chinese Theater (1957), during the premier of the movie The Beginning of the End he stood up while a giant grasshopper was attacking the leading lady and shouted, “This theater smells like an outhouse!” This offended the star of the film, Peter Graves, who punched Krugan on the chin. Krugan realized after the melee the true culprit was his nose. After the incident a rift formed between Krugan’s nose and his chin, which to the untrained eye appeared to be his mouth. The chin refused to be seen with Krugan’s nose which the artist claims delayed the unveiling of his self-portrait indefinitely. To teach the nose a lesson he got a nose job and had his nose sealing envelopes for minimum wage, a task much more suited for his mouth.
Krugan, like DaVinci before him, excelled in almost every field into which he delved. The one notable exception was gym class. He was obsessed with staying in shape, but his seven and a half feet of awkwardness made this difficult. In his younger days, he almost died of grass inhalation during a high school field day event. His overzealous wheelbarrow partner had not noticed that for nearly three hundred yards Krugan had not been keeping up with his hands. Krugan often remarked how that day marked the beginning of his nose problems.
In 1966 he was almost nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with early psychotropic medication after being the first to make El dopa into a nice white wine sauce for chicken or fish. In 1968 his career took a turn for the worse, however, when practicing reverse psychology he backed over the country’s first psychiatric group house. This was to set back community mental health ten years, and did nothing for his fender.
Krugan is best known for his abstract scrap metal rendition of At the Water Hole with the Greaseweasels. This provocative metal creation propelled him onto the world stage. Unfortunately it was also the leading cause of tetanus at the Art Institute of Chicago, until, upon Krugan’s request, it was lowered into a vat of gelatin. Some believe his pointillism technique matched the skill of George Seurat, though their perspectives greatly differed. Whereas Seurat recommended standing back 12-15 feet to enjoy his Sunday afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Jatte, Krugan suggested viewing all of his work at the British museum from the nearby Tate Gallery—incidentally, so did his critics.
In recent years, Krugan began painting a variety of objects with his tongue in a style he calls Lick Nouveau. This genre includes such works as Light Socket 911 and Metal Pole in Winter (see 911). Although, Krugan’s critics attest the latter is more reminiscent of post-impressionism. Krugan, considered a Belgian surrealist, mastered the style so completely that it wasn’t discovered until years after his death that he was actually Scandinavian.
Art would play a major role throughout Krugan’s life, until he “threw the freeloader out” and went back to dating women. In 1996 Krugan was commissioned to hand paint the labels of several wineries in the Bordeaux region of France. The unopened bottles stored there are said to still be increasing in value to this day.
Krugan’s personal life during became quite turbulent and he often blamed his nose. He spent the majority of the 90s working endlessly on a book entitled How to Get Published, which never did see print. He returned to the front page of all the tabloids in March of 2002 when he started dating Freya, the mythical Norse goddess of beauty. After Krugan’s announcement of their engagement, people began to question his sanity and thought Freya could do better. Upon returning from their weekend honeymoon in Valhalla, Krugan became a recluse. Near the end of the festivities, he allegedly offended Thor after playing Ride of the Valkyries on a 25¢ kazoo. The next morning his only defense was that he was “hammered”. Ironically, this was also his punishment.
Neighbors alleged that when Krugan finally snapped he was yelling something about the psychic gigolo who knew he was screwed, before he jammed a salt and pepper shaker violently up his own nostrils screaming, “Nose of day smell upon me no more!”
When the police arrived Krugan’s mansion lay in ruins and his nose was nailed over the fireplace mantle. The aged artist resolved to give the nose to the great-great-granddaughter of the woman Vincent Van Gogh had fallen in love with. It is believed she still possess Van Gogh’s famous ear. Krugan, always thinking of his contributions to art, reasoned a few more noses and eyes and she’d have a Picasso.
I had the honor of interviewing R.V. Krugan shortly after his death. He revealed to me for the first time how he had extracted his proboscis. He graphically explained that, like removing a bad tooth, he had tied one end of a string around his nose and the other end to a door knob and gave it a good slam. Krugan spent the last ten years of his life in a Psychiatric center, convinced he was a sweater. He spent most of his time folded neatly in his dresser drawer or writing long diatribes denouncing the use of harsh detergents. When asked about his statue at the Met, he chuckled, and said, “You can’t even say Ziggy missed it by a nose, after my little incident he was two noses off the mark.”