I’m taking a break today from my newly found semi-interest in domesticity and thinking about public art in Phoenix. There’s actually quite a lot of it around in a town that used to be considered culturally deficient. These are two sculptures that I consider sort of “my own,” especially the first one. This guardian vessel is at the end of my street. I see it everyday and I appreciate it for what it represents in Phoenix’s Public Arts Program. This piece was part of a series of freeway sculptures made about 16 years ago called Wall Cycle to Ocotillo but disparagingly (and later, fondly) referred to as The Squaw Peak Pots. The pots caused a stir when they were originally installed because much of the public, fueled by the right-wing media, felt they were a waste of money that could be better used elsewhere. The fervor eventually died down and now some of the pots are in storage because the freeway was expanded, which is a waste, I think. But “my” pot is still there. Every couple of months, it gets tagged and I call the graffiti hotline operated by The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and they come out very quickly and repair it. If you want to know more about the pots and the public art scene in Phoenix, there is a good article online: New Times Article
My second sculpture is close to where I work. I don’t see it everyday but I see it everyday I walk at lunch. It’s a little more famous. It’s one of Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculptures. From Wikipedia:
“Indiana’s iconic work LOVE was first created for a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964 and later was included on an eight-cent United States Postal Service postage stamp in 1973, the first of their regular series of “love stamps.” Sculptural versions of the image have been installed at numerous American and international locations.
In 2008, Indiana created an image similar to his iconic LOVE (letters tacked two to a line, the letter “o” tilted on its side), but this time showcasing the word “HOPE,” and has donated all proceeds from the image to Democrat Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign. A stainless steel sculpture of HOPE was unveiled outside Denver’s Pepsi Center during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.“
There are several other very nice sculptures at the location where this one is…Scottsdale Civic Center…but I especially like this one because it is an icon and because I am from the same state as Robert Indiana.