Tag Archives: Sculpture

Don’t be afraid of Ethnicity

Don’t be afraid of public artwork that strongly demonstrates its origination in  ethnic visual traditions.  Murals can be show people from different backgrounds or painted in the art traditions of non-western cultures.  Why can’t public sculptures be bronze castings of African masks.  Why can’t ceramic murals clearly originate in the traditions of Spanish or Moroccan wall and floor tiles?

In the 19th and 20th century, the dominant art establishment and intellectuals believed that progress and newness in art came exclusively from the artistic inventions in Europe and then the Americas.  Still today, despite the great respect in museums and universities for all traditions in art, the vast majority of public art is dominated by euro-american art.

One major flaw of public art thinking is that works from other cultural traditions should only be seen in the neighborhoods of those ethnic communities.  It is sometimes known as “race matching”.   Art about or by African Americans should be seen in African American neighborhoods, not in the center of downtown.

Given the 150 years of public art in the USA and Florida, some catching up may be required in African American, Caribbean, Mexican and South American neighborhoods.  Pride in community through public art is still a valuable service.

In the 21st century, many mature and talented artists exist from any cultural or ethnic backgrounds.  Many ethnic traditions have been continued by contemporary artists and craftspersons.  Perhaps ethnic and cultural diversity in a public art collection is the true new future.

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Honoring Ann Norton with New Sculpture

Norton SculptureIn March 2012 three years ago, the AiPP Committee endorsed the idea constructing in brick an Ann Norton sculpture as major significant public artwork in West Palm Beach.   Only thru the fence at the Norton Sculpture Garden can you see parts of her sculptures.

In 2014, the AiPP Committee and City Commission “unreserved” the funds for the project on Okeechobee as rendered below.  During the master plan process, they would re-examine the project that would include other locations and different scales.   Now is that time.

photo_3 NortonA&Edrawing

More information on Ann Norton on this blog, click here.  Also information of an program idea to purchase works by long-time WPB artist, click here.

Ann Norton in Cambridge, Mass.
Ann Norton in Cambridge, Mass.

Idea: Move Henry Rolfs Sculpture

Henry Rolfs Statue

In 1994, the City of West Palm agreed with the family of Henry Rolfs, Sr. to honor his contribution to the City with a sculpture in the median of Okeechobee Blvd.    Artist Marsha Montoya Meyer made the statue that  welcomes visitors to West Palm at the intersection of Tamarind/Parker and Okeechobee.

Mr. Rolfs and his partner David Paladino were responsible for consolidating all the 77 acres that eventually became City Place, the Kravis Center and the Convention Center.  Without their visionary purchases, it is very unlikely that City Place would exist.   Unfortunately for Rolfs and Paladino, the economic downturns of the late 1980s and early 1990s ruined their opportunity to complete their vision and the land was acquired by the City.

Land Purchased by Rolfs and Paladino
Land Purchased by Rolfs and Paladino

In our community discussions on public art, we learned that most people don’t know anything about the sculpture.  If they have  thought about it, then most assume it is second memorial to Henry Flagler.  Part of the reason for the lack of knowledge is that sculpture is undersized for the site and almost no pedestrians cross at this location to learn about Mr. Rolfs.

Henry Rolfs, Sr. by Marsha Montoya Meyer
Henry Rolfs, Sr. by Marsha Montoya Meyer

Given the contribution of Mr. Rolfs, the sculpture seems better located near or in City Place.  Pedestrian could enjoy the artwork and read information about Mr. Rolfs’ life and activities in West Palm.

What do you think?  Should the sculpture be moved or remain in place?

rolfs9d
Existing and Possible New Locations
rolfs1
Current Location
rolfs5
Rosemary and Okeechobee

 

 

 

Idea: Honors Program Public Art Purchases

In every city, county and state, artwork by some of the long time resident artists with exceptional careers not been purchase for the public art collection.  These artists are the artistic foundation of the community and deserve to be celebrated and remembered long into the future.

Some of these artists work in durable materials suitable for public art, but many are painters, printmakers, photographers, filmmakers, digital artists, etc.  Others like ceramic artists may never have worked a large scale.   But with today’s many fabrication techniques, their artworks can be transformed into the public works.

An “Honors Public Art Program” would select a living or deceased artist each year to purchase/commission and display her/his artwork in public space or buildings.  In City Hall, a permanent board would recognize the artists commissioned in the program.

We might have missed someone, but Jeff Halverson and Mark Fuller might be the only West Palm Beach residents in the collection.    Marsha Montoya lives in Palm Beach and Michael Singer in Delray Beach.  Privately owned works by WPB artists Luis MontoyaJane Manus and Ann Norton are on public display outside.   Ralfonso has sculpture in an office lobby.  Mural exist by Leslie DavidsonCraig McInnis, Eduardo Mendieta and Amanda Valdez.

For example, a similar program was operated in Seattle in the 1980s & 1990s.   Below are two examples of public artworks by prominent resident painters:  Jacob Lawrence and Michael Spafford.  Lawrence is porcelain enamel and Spafford is concrete panels.

Michael Spafford, Tumbling Figures, Seattle
Michael Spafford, Tumbling Figures, Seattle
Jacob Lawrence, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
Jacob Lawrence, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle

The artwork of Bruce Helander, inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2014, is used for the header.

 

Idea for Development: Building Entrances

Lee Lawrie at Rockefeller Center, 1932
Lee Lawrie at Rockefeller Center, 1932

Since the beginning of architecture, front door or entrance has been a primary location for symbolic, religious or decorative elements.  When mansions, hotels and office buildings were invented, the entrance sequence from plaza, staircase, doorway and lobby became the first experience and taste of the building.  This sequence is always complete with art, gardens, lighting and decor of all types.   With the invention of plate glass, the outdoor plaza to indoor lobby merged together especially at night.

Isamu Noguchi at Rockefeller Center
Isamu Noguchi at Rockefeller Center

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Liam Gillick, Entrance and Cornice, UK
Liam Gillick, Entrance and Cornice, UK
Christopher Janey at Broward Library
Christopher Janey at Broward Library
Blackfoot-Crossing-Historical-Park
Blackfoot-Crossing-Historical-Park
Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC
Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC

Inside Lobby as Exterior/Interior Public Art

Dale Chihuly in Seattle
Dale Chihuly in Seattle
Kent Bloomer Reagan Airport
Kent Bloomer Reagan Airport
Cappy Thompson in Seattle Airport
Cappy Thompson in Seattle Airport

Artwork Guiding into the Entrance

Jenny Holzer at Aria Hotel, Las Vegas
Jenny Holzer at Aria Hotel, Las Vegas
Liam Gillick at 1 Centene Headquarters
Liam Gillick at 1 Centene Headquarters
Mari Gardner at Tampa Children's Museum
Mari Gardner at Tampa Children’s Museum

Idea for Private Developer: Art on Building Tops

Chrysler Building, NYC
Chrysler Building, NYC

The Art in Public Art ordinance requires that most new buildings hire public artists to incorporate artworks into the building or site design.  So we will look at the successful artworks in the architecture and landscape.    In addition to the plazas and landscapes, key typical places include the tops or roofs, the entries and lobbies, the parking garage walls,  the second floors and blank walls.   The goals is find artistic work that enhance the value of the development for the owner and contribute to the energy and artistic reputation of the city.

The Building Tops

Residents and visitors to every city enjoy “looking up” when there is something there.  Rather just a flat roof or a simple pyramid, a sculptural form or digital lighting patterns can distinguish the building and the larger cityscape vista.  The artworks can be smoothly integrated or a surprising addition.

Divers England
Divers England

If you don’t see the slide show, click here to see artist-made tops.

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Does the city need something up high?

WPB Skyline, Photo Credit Palm Beach Post
WPB Skyline, Photo Credit Palm Beach Post

More Public Sculpture around West Palm Beach

Northwood University
Northwood University, 2600 N Military Tr

Driving and walking around West Palm Beach, several more sculptures were found to be available to the public.  Some like Northwood University and MorseLife require signing in with the guard.  Other like EmKO visible, but unclear if the owners are OK with wandering around the art.  The Armory Art Center and South Florida Science Center and Aquarium are in public parks, so enjoy.  Unfortunately for the visitor, only a minority of sculptures have plaques with the names of the artists.

 Armory Art Center, 1700 Parker Avenue

Armory Art Center, Kraft Sculpture Garden
Armory Art Center, Kraft Sculpture Garden
Armory Art Center, Kraft Sculpture Garden
Armory Art Center, Kraft Sculpture Garden

 

 South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
4801 Dreher Trail North

Science Center Sculpture by Yure de Alcencar
Science Center Sculpture by Yure de Alcencar

EmKO, 2172 South Dixie

Emko Sculpture
Emko Sculpture
EmKO Sculpture
EmKO Sculpture

MorseLife Senior Residence, 4754 Haverhill Rd N

MorseLife Senior Residence
MorseLife Senior Residence
Jane Manus at MorseLife Senior Residence
Jane Manus at MorseLife Senior Residence

The title image is “The Wave” by Barbara Grygutis at the Convention Center.