Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Public Sculpture

Today was another beautiful day here in Richmond, well into the 70's. Unbelievable.

I rode my bike down to Shockoe Bottom so I could apply for a job with Allied Security and be a security guard at the art museum, but unfortunately they aren't hiring for the museum right now. That would have been a fun job, at least until Spring comes for real and I can go back to this. Once the season starts up I'll post about that again and we can go rafting.

The trip downtown wasn't a total bust however, not only did I get some exercise and sunshine on a beautiful day- but I took the time to really examine one of the coolest public sculptures in the City of Richmond, hanging right across the street from an old train station.

You need to know a little about this location to appreciate it. The Bottom is called the bottom for a reason, it's The Bottom. The old train station is a beautiful (Richmond beautiful) old building that has recently been restored and is surrounded by highway overpasses. It's really weird. If you've ever whizzed through Richmond on one of those highways you may have passed one of the building's third floor windows or rooftop spires. The sculpture hangs from underneath an overpass, across from the station.

I've passed this sculpture before but today I stopped because of the cool warping pattern effects I noticed for the first time, as the sunlight shone through some kind of mesh. The piece is very big, suspended at least 20 feet above the ground, and looks like some kind of Wright Brothers meet Jules Verne Flying Machine, in harvest gold. It doesn't look old though, rather clean and new like it's just arrived from Jules Verne time and the pilot is wandering around Richmond searching for Bottom-dwelling Morlocks. The patterned-mesh part that had originally caught my eye is sky blue and like a big twisty propeller blade.

I couldn't see any identifying signage, so I went in to ask someone at the train station. They didn't have any information but one worker thinks it looks like a big bee trying to sting itself and another lady said that the sky-blue part represents steam from a train's steam-stack.

Aside from just being a really good sculpture, the context is remarkable. It's hanging from a dingy gray overpass, over a muddy gray lot. Just such a weird location. Maybe they have later plans to pretty everything up but I like that current juxtaposition. I guess that's my bias. I was into the weird hallway placement of Rudolf Stingel's painting at the Tang Museum's About Painting show too.

I'll try to get more info on the piece and post that later.


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