Friday, September 17, 2010


Friday!!  What can I say. Two days of rest and relaxation.  Really?

Today I visited the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden in Downtown Des Moines.  The sky was blue, temperature was wonderful, and everyone was out enjoying their lunch outside.
This is a side view looking east of the “Nomade,” by the Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa.  Nomade is , a 27-foot-tall hollow human form made of a latticework of white steel letters, and one of the first things you see when entering the downtown from the west (gateway).  Nomade may soon become a symbol of Des Moines the same way Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s shuttlecocks represent Kansas City and their spoon and cherry represent Minneapolis.
The following was taken from the Des Moines Register's Guide to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park:
The figure’s sheer size dominates the park’s landscape, and its human form made from scrambled steel letters seems to suit the city’s vision of itself in the Information Age. The artist envisioned the letters as building blocks for words and ideas in the same way human cells for tissues, organs and bodies. They’re painted with white enamel that appears dark against the sunlit sky and glows at night, thanks to dramatic spotlights at the sculpture’s base. The effect is surprisingly ethereal for something that weighs about 4 tons.
Plensa is best known for his Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millenium Park, with its pair of 50-foot towers in a reflecting pool. The towers light up with video-projected faces whose lips pucker just before water appears to shot from their mouths, like high-tech gargoyles. A few miles north, a life-size sibling of Nomade sits a block east of North Michigan Avenue, with its arms wrapped around the trunk of a living tree.
Nomade was unveiled in 2006 at the Musée Picasso on the French Riviera. The Pappajohns first saw it at a show in Miami and quickly decided to buy it for the park, where it has shown up in countless snapshots, sketches and paintings.
I took this self portrait of myself in the reflection of sculptor Gary Hume's snowman (black).  There are two snowmen--a black and a white one.  These snowmen, affectionately known as the chess pieces or the salt and pepper shakers, are the results of an exercise in affirmative action.
“We got to thinking in terms of diversity,” John Pappajohn said of his conversation with the artist’s dealer. The collector had seen the white snowman in New York and suggested he might commission version in black.  The idea originally was to have the two stand side by side and use it during the Christmas holidays and let the kids come and have their pictures taken with a white snowman and a black one.  The two snowmen stand side by side, silently interacting with each other and Nomade nearby.  Each piece weighs almost 6,000 pounds and shines with a high gloss that reflects the scenery around them.

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