Last Friday--on the tail end of Shark Week--non-profit arts organization Creative Time held their second annual Artist Sandcastle Competition at New York’s Rockaway Beach. Here, Marc Andre Robinson’s entry had teeth.

The Gold Shovel went to Jamie Isenstein for her “Disappearing Sculptures.” Atop three sand pedestals, she placed bubbles, a pile of ice, and a jorts-clad man playing George Michael on the saxophone.

The Silver Shovel went to Venezuelan artist Esperanza Mayorbe for an absurdly convincing sculpture of a raft, with sand ropes tying sand logs together.

Mayorbe said her raft piece was a comment on immigration.

The Bronze Shovel went to team Duke Riley for an epic seaside version of White Castle, with horseshoe crab shell awnings and sand cars parked in a lot.

Not taking home a shovel this year was team Ghost of a Dream, who frolicked around dressed as "trophies" in gold lame unitards and built pedestals.

Artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz used water to darken sand into a shadow shape of an overhead plane, a comment on the kind of post-9/11 dread that can cloud even a sunny day at the beach.

The White Castle entry was sponsored by the burger chain, with the built-in bonus that reps handed out 101 free burgers. It was the only literal castle among the entries.

Ten teams shoveled and toiled. Judges included MoMA PS1 curator Klaus Biesenbach, artist and designer Waris Ahluwalia, and curator Dana Farouki, along with a pair of winners from the 2012 contest.

An ill-fated wooden throne eventually became a shark’s head.

Co.Design

These Sandcastles Far Exceed Bucket-And-Shovel Standards

Out with Shark Week, in with feats of architecture in the sand. Here’s the bucket (and shovel) list for 2013.

Sharks are so last week. Time to move onto land for another late-summer rite: Creative Time’s annual Artist Sandcastle Competition at New York’s Rockaway Beach. The nonprofit arts organization’s event always ups the architectural standards of seaside building, inspiring entries that venture far beyond bucket-and-shovel standards. Ten teams led by artists shoveled and toiled on Friday from 2:00 p.m. until the 5:00 p.m. deadline. Judges included MoMA PS1 curator Klaus Biesenbach, artist and designer Waris Ahluwalia, and curator Dana Farouki, along with a pair of winners from 2012’s contest.

The Bronze Shovel (what, you thought we’d start with the gold?) went to team Duke Riley for an epic version of White Castle, with minimalist turrets, horseshoe crab shell awnings, and sand cars parked in a lot. The work was sponsored by the burger chain itself, and the tradeoff for arguably casting a corporate shadow on an independent artists’ event was that reps handed out 101 burgers. Notably, this sculpture was the only literal castle among the entries. The crowd loves a classic, just like the crowd loves a free hamburger. Maybe a guest appearance by Harold and Kumar could’ve gotten the gold.

The Silver Shovel went to Venezuelan artist Esperanza Mayorbe for an absurdly convincing sculpture of a raft, with sand ropes tying sand logs together. Mayorbe said the piece was a comment on immigration.

The Gold Shovel went to Jamie Isenstein for her “Disappearing Sculptures.” Atop three sand pedestals she placed bubbles, a pile of ice, and a jorts-clad man playing George Michael on the saxophone. Her actual work with the medium wasn’t any more advanced than your average eight-year-old’s with a bucket and shovel. But its conceptual focus on ephemerality appealed to the high-minded judges. Isenstein took home a $500 check, a bucketful of tequila, and, of course, a gold-plated sand-digging utensil.

Other notable participants included team Ghost of a Dream, who frolicked around in gold lame unitards, and Christopher Robbins’s pancake-making machine, which mysteriously dispensed real pancakes.

[Photos by: Derek Schultz, Courtesy Creative Time.]

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  • justinTimeAgain

    These sand castles suck. Google "Amazing sand castles" - Those are news/note/scroll/click worthy.