Ark of Triumph

Today’s morning name (from who knows where): the word-playful Ark [vs. the usual Arch] of Triumph. In French, somewhat confusingly Arche [vs. the usual Arc] de Triomphe.

The Ark (that is, Noah’s Ark), Arche de Noé + the Arch of Triumph (that is, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris).

Wherever it came from, Ark of Triumph led me to the wonderfully playful artist Rodney Alan Greenblat, some of whose work it turns out I was familiar with (without knowing he was the artist), but whose 1984 work Ark of Triumph I’m pretty sure I’d never even heard about before, much less seen.

Ingredients: the Ark. From NOAD, the full entry (just for fun):

noun ark: 1 [a] (the ark) (in the Bible) the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Flood; Noah’s ark. [b] a vessel or sanctuary that serves as protection against extinction: a starship ark built by their android protectors. [c] archaic a chest or box: the ark was of Italian walnut. [d] archaic a large, flat-bottomed boat. 2 [a] short for Ark of the Covenant [b] (also Holy Ark) a chest or cupboard housing the Torah scrolls in a synagogue. 3 (also ark shell) a widely distributed bivalve mollusk that typically attaches itself to rocks with byssus threads. (Order Arcoidea: Arca and other genera.)

On Noah’s specifically, from Wikipedia:

(#1) Noah’s Ark (1846), by the American folk painter Edward Hicks (from the Wikipedia site)

Noah’s Ark is the vessel in the Genesis flood narrative (Genesis chapters 6–9) through which God spares Noah, his family, and examples of all the world’s animals from a world-engulfing flood.

Ingredients: the Arch. From Wikipedia:


The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (lit. ’Triumphal Arch of the Star’) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, France, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l’Étoile — the étoile or “star” of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues.

Greenblat’s Ark of Triumph.

(#3) “Ark of Triumph” – large painted wooden construction 1984 – 112 x 120 x 25 inches – mixed materials, motor, and lights – featured in the 1985 Whitney Biennial – collection of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

On the artist. From the Everipedia site:

Rodney Alan Greenblat, born August 23, 1960 in San Francisco, California, is an American graphic artist known best in the United States for the visual style of the PlayStation series PaRappa the Rapper and in Japan for his picture book, Thunder Bunny. He was also the character designer for the PaRappa the Rapper anime that was released in Japan. He is currently an abstract painter in New York.

known for: whimsical colorful artwork including design, painting and multi-media constructions

album artwork: Strawberry Sound by Shonen Knife; They Might Be Giants by They Might Be Giants; An Illustrated History by Puffy [Shonen Knife and They Might Be Giants are old friends on this blog]

(plus computer and video games)

Greenblat has managed to make a career out of playful delight. From the UpstateCreative site, “The Rodney Shop Brings an Artist’s Whimsical Creations to Catskill” on 9/17/18 (edited by AMZ to reduce puffery):


Artist Rodney Alan Greenblat, … famous for his whimsical, vibrant, and fun artwork, is the owner/operator of the Rodney Shop boutique, one of the many artist-run boutiques on Main Street in Catskill, NY. His interest in art began as a young child and he was propelled into the arts world with his first “gig” doing an illustration for his school PTA handbook at the age of 11.

As a sculptor and painter, his work became … part of the East Village Art scene of the 1980s, where he had several one person shows at the … Gracie Mansion Gallery. In 1985 his large sculpture “Ark of Triumph” was featured in the … Whitney Museum Biennial exhibition.

In the 1990’s Rodney took on another title, and published four children’s books [with] Harper Collins. Uncle Wizzmo’s New Used Car, Aunt Ippy’s Museum of Junk, Thunder Bunny, and Slombo The Gross.

When newer technologies started to revolutionize the video game industry,  he became the artistic force behind the … Sony Playstation [game] “Parappa The Rapper.” This led to a … line of products distributed in Japan, and a weekly animated television series.

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