Cleveland’s Free Stamp

Another piece of modern public art that I really like is Free Stamp, a large painted steel and aluminum sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen.  For years, Free Stamp has graced a small park along East Ninth Street in Cleveland, just south of the expressway that separates the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum from the rest of downtown.

Why do I like Free Stamp?  Because this is a whimsical sculpture that will inevitably grow more interesting as time goes by.  When the sculpture was created, paper was the preferred medium of business, and ink pads and stamps that said things like “Paid” and “Handle with Care” were used routinely.  Of course, in the business world you wouldn’t need a stamp that said “Free,” so the sculpture was a bit of a joke.  But now, as paper has gone the way of the Dodo and electronic transmissions are in vogue, I doubt that any business buys or even uses stamps anymore.  And that is what will make this sculpture even more interesting in years to come.  What will people who grow up in the age of email and the cloud, and in the ages of even more advanced communications forms to come, think when they see this giant sculpture, and will they even dimly understand what it is supposed to be?

Living With The Rabbit Intruder

Lately we’ve been running into this little fellow a lot.

We see him sitting in our yard, patiently nibbling something, and hopping around in the yards of our neighbors.  Often he will be sitting in the shadows when Penny and I take our morning walks, ready to dart away when Penny detects his presence and makes the first great lunge in his direction.  And telltale signs of his presence are everywhere, from the hosta leaves in our side yard that have been gobbled down to the nub to the missing, but apparently tender and tasty, buds that have gnawed off our flowers.

This guy is a pretty mangy creature, and clearly he is an awesomely destructive force in the flower and ground covering area.  Still, I’m inclined to just live and let live so long as the destruction doesn’t escalate.  It’s nice to see furry woodland creatures in our standard suburban neighborhood, even at the price of a few hosta leaves.