Broken Circle

Suspensions, the exhibition of sculptures by Jerzy Jotka Kedziora at Schiller Park, was supposed to end in March 2020 — about the time the coronavirus turned our little corner of the world upside down. Whether it is due to COVID-19 issues or because people like me just enjoy them, the exhibition has been extended and the hanging sculptures are still there to be appreciated.

The sculpture above has attracted a lot of attention from passersby who have noticed that the strap on the one ring is unattached and are worried the sculpture needs repair. But that’s actually the whole point of this piece, which is called Broken Circle. The Friends of Schiller Park, which sponsored this exhibition, received so many inquiries about the sculpture they put up a sign with the artist’s explanation of the piece: “With one wheel severed, the gymnast is able to maintain the hard-to-explain position. I want viewers to interact with my sculptures, even if it is simply the viewer’s fear that the sculpture may fall.”

I am struck by Kedziora’s notion of the gymnast being “able to maintain the hard-to-explain position.” That seems like a pretty apt description of what many people have done in trying to keep their lives, and their family’s lives, in order in the face of a pandemic and the other issues that have made 2020 such a surreal year. If you’re one of the Moms, Dads, helping out grandmothers or grandfathers, stay-at-home workers, remote schoolers, masked health care workers, or countless other people who have been able to “maintain the hard-to-explain position” in the face of a broken circle and innumerable daily challenges, I salute you. Like the gymnast, you’ve survived the impossible.

It’s interesting how changes in the world can affect your impression of art, and vice versa.

Once More Into Darkness

I may be the only non-farmer in America who dreads the “spring ahead” point in the year — which happens tonight, in case you’ve forgotten.

Why? It’s not that I don’t like having sunshine later in the evening, for sure. No, it’s because I walk Betty in the morning and we’ve just gotten to the point where the sun peeks over the horizon during our morning walk time — as the picture of one of the Schiller Park aerial sculptures that I took recently shows. With clocks moving ahead an hour tonight, Betty and I will once more be plunged into darkness on our morning stroll. We’ll have to deal with a few more weeks of darkness before the lengthening days give us sunshine at 6 a.m.

My Friend, The Sculptor

IMG_1214If you do go to the Columbus Arts Festival this weekend, be sure to stop by the Cultural Arts Center and vote for the terracotta bust created by my friend, the Talmudic Sculptor.  His piece — which he’s left untitled, but which I think should be called Wide-Eyed Woman — is number 308 in the exhibition.  The CAC is having a kind of “people’s choice” vote and, as the T.S. mentioned, any vote for his creation is one more vote than he would have gotten otherwise.  (That kind of subtle wisdom is why he’s got the “T” in his name.)

The T.S. story is a pretty cool one.  He came to sculpture later in life, after a very successful career in law was well underway.  He found that he really enjoyed it and he has especially taken to it after his retirement.  I think he’s got real talent, and finding a new passion in retirement is something everyone should aspire to achieve.

RecycleArt

IMG_6653_2Somewhere along the Maine coastline, you will find Nervous Nellie’s Jams and Jellies.  It’s home not only to some great and inventive jams and jellies, but also to the sculpture of Peter Beerits — an artist who creates interesting pieces out of discarded odds and ends.

The area around Nervous Nellie’s is chock full of Beerits’ work, including pieces organized into an entire Old West town, complete with jail, general store, and a saloon with card players.  The artwork has a certain fascination to it, because Beerits obviously can see through the current condition of an object to its ultimate, artistic realization — where a rusted top of an outdoor grill becomes the shell of a tortoise, or an old washtub serves as the legs of a goat.  It’s all quite in line with Michelangelo’s purported statement that his sculptures were always there, lurking inside the block of marble — he just was able to see them, and then could chop and smooth away the unnecessary stuff.

It’s cool to see what most of us would consider to be junk reused, and reimagined, into interesting pieces of art.

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Hyatt Hotel Holograms

IMG_5903Hotel lobby art is a special kind of art. It has to be large enough to work in a cavernous, high-ceiling space, yet likely to be inoffensive to the vast majority of patrons shuffling by on their way to their rooms or the concierge desk. Most hotel lobby art blends unobtrusively into the background; it’s rare to see something that is interesting enough to demand a second look.

The lobby of the Grand Hyatt in New York City, next to Grand Central Station, is an exception to that rule. It features two striking statues of the heads of sleeping women by artist Jaume Plensa. Made of white marble and created with horizontal lines, the two statues have a peaceful, ethereal feel and look like gigantic holograms. You feel compelled to walk around them just to make sure that they are tangible.

It’s nice to come to a hotel lobby that makes you think, even for a moment, about the wonder of art.

Packing A Punch

IMG_5170At the far edge of downtown Detroit, just across the river from Canada, is a monument to heavyweight boxer Joe Louis.  It’s a huge fist and arm, suspended from a pyramid.

It’s a wonderful sculpture, with the fist and the outstretched arm conveying an awesome sense of power.  Curiously, the Detroit city fathers have placed it on a traffic island in the middle of an intersection, where it’s not easy to get to and see up close.  I took a close look, anyway.

What’s the point of having a cool bit of sculpture in your downtown area if you put it in an inaccessible location?  Detroit should move “The Fist” to a better place, where everyone can enjoy it.