Elaine Erne had a tax refund’s worth of stuffed bunnies and duct tape, but she didn’t exactly have a plan.
“I just had this image of bunnies all over Philadelphia, and it took off from there. How would I get them out there, and how would I get them back?” says the artist and Moore College instructor of the beginnings of her latest exhibit. “I never thought duct-taping bunnies would be so much work, or fun.”
Part gallery show, part community participation project, part sticky cotton-ball tails, “Mr. Bunny Misses His Friends” is the latest installment of Erne’s “Lives and Traumas of Stuffed Animals” series of drawings. Ultimately, after some duct-tape strategizing, hundreds of bunnies were abandoned all over the city, adhered to posts with an intriguing offer: If returned to NEXUS gallery before June 3, their rescuer would receive an award.
Some of the bunnies made their way back for the May 12 opening, where their foster parents exchanged them for a print from the show. (There was also an option to adopt the bunny for $5.)
Of the 400 that journeyed out, 64 have returned — a number that Erne is both pleased with and a little worried about.
“I was pretty happy with that — I guess the maternal part of me wanted them to come back,” she says. “But people give me bunnies all the time. People walk in my house and get kind of creeped out. And I just realized, ‘Oh my gosh, I might have another 100 bunnies.’”
Follow Monica Weymouth on Twitter @MonicaatMetro.