When you sculpture heads, as Daniel Edwards does, you never expect an artistic gift like the news that Ted Williams’s head had been removed and frozen, along with his separated trunk, at a cryonics laboratory in Arizona.
“It never left me,” Mr. Edwards said, referring to the severing of the head. “I was shocked.”
The shock prompted a prankish idea: why not make three plaster “casts” of Williams’s head – like Napoleon’s death masks, he said – arrange them with objects that relate to his career and final resting place in a steel tank filled with liquid nitrogen at minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit, and promote them as sports collectibles?
“I have an affection for ghoulish work, so I’m the perfect guy to do this,” Mr. Edwards said the other day at the First Street Gallery on West 26th Street in Chelsea, where the Williams heads await an exhibition that opens tomorrow.
The most ambitious and frolicsome work places the head on a plaster base, giving it what Mr. Edwards called a “head on a platter” look. The chin rests on a ball signed by Williams, while in the background, a headless mannequin torso is wearing a Boston road jersey with Williams’s name and the number 9 on the back.
“I had to ask myself, ‘Was he home or away?’ ” Mr. Edwards said, “and I decided that he is definitely on a road trip.”
Behind the head is a glove with a ball that commemorated the opening of the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston in 1995 and to one side is a light blue Alcor membership application and two of its publications.
This piece, which he hopes will sell for at least $15,000, bears the title, “The Ted Williams Memorial Display With Death Mask From the Ben Affleck 2004 World Series Collection,” a rare artistic homage to the “Gigli” star and well-known Red Sox fan.