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MR. EARTH’S IDEA OF EXHIBIT IS OUT OF THIS WORLD

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As a politician, Salt Lake County Commissioner Brent Overson knows at times he's expected to move heaven and Earth.

On Monday, Overson just had to make room for Mr. Earth.Mr. Earth is a multimedia artist. He asked Overson recently for permission to stage a monthlong art show at the Salt Lake County Government Complex to benefit the homeless.

Overson said it sounded like a good idea, thinking there would be more discussion on the proposal. Mr. Earth needed no more en-couragement.

Mr. Earth beat county employees to work Monday, setting up several, large movable sculptures on the north complex plaza that bemused and confused viewers.

There was more to come.

Mr. Earth labored through the day and long into the night to transform the north complex atrium into a sprawling one-man art show.

First, he erected a frame that fills the center of the atrium to display his art pieces, which are made from whatever strikes Mr. Earth's fancy - a bowling ball, a karoom game table top, printing plates, bits of scripture, a toilet seat, foam, reflective metal, bolts.

Many artworks, including a larger-than-life-size puppet, dangle from the frame. Easels holding other artworks line the atrium and circle into a nearby room. Figurines and chess boards and lamps take up tables and couches. Overhead, a circular banner featuring the single eye found in many of Mr. Earth's pieces introduces viewers to the spectacle.

The magnitude of the show came as a shock, apparently, to Overson.

"The commissioner was under the impression they were small artworks on canvas, and these objects appeared," said Arlene Johnson, facilities manager.

"He's monopolizing the whole foyer," said Commissioner Jim Bradley. "I don't know quite how we got into this one."

Overson told Mr. Earth Monday the show would have to close in a week, rather than a month.

"I guess they didn't understand what I wanted to do," Mr. Earth said.

Mr. Earth is actually Robert Earl Anderson of Magna. But Utahns may recognize him from previous public ventures as Mr. Dirt and Mr. Peace.

In 1988, "Mr. Dirt" tried to get enough signatures to run as the Pollution Solution ticket's presidential candidate on Utah ballots. He asked but was refused permission to set up campaign tables at the City-County Landfill - which he considered the perfect setting for his environmental cleanup platform.

While his name continues to evolve, his message of environmentalism and spiritualism has remained constant.

"I go by Mr. Earth because everything I do is in that mode," Anderson said. "I have a goal, and it's to clean up the world through technology."

The specific technology Anderson touts is a "reversal facility" that would recycle material at landfills into usable goods. After years of pushing the technology, it continues to orbit beyond Mr. Earth's grasp.

"I call myself a dream seeder," he said. "I'm spreading (the idea) all over the world. I don't care if I do it, just so it gets done and we make a better world for our children."

So Mr. Earth focuses mostly on getting his message out through his art.

Anderson vows to donate half of any proceeds he makes from the art show to an organization that helps the homeless. If he makes a sale - and maintains his ground on prices - that could prove quite a sum.

The artworks carry price tags that typically involve some combination of the digits 1, 4 and 0. For example, "Greedy Puppet" goes for $1,444,000. "Everyone's Sorrow," a multidimensional, diamond-shaped sculpture is $144,000. The "Pollution Solution Club Door" is $1,444,000.

Anderson says the prices are negotiable and include a poem written specifically for each artwork. Other pieces are more affordable for most people.

"I'm hoping to get enough money here to get a bus," he said. He'd like to decorate it with a sculpted killer whale, put together a traveling band called Mr. Earth and the World Scrubbing Machine and tour the country promoting his brand of environmentalism.