If 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.
Somewhere 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.
Hotel 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.
At 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.