Ed Carpenter’s hanging sculpture Radius has been installed over the Memorial Day weekend, in the lobby of the Justice Center. [photo] Four out-of-town architects who designed the center were outside taking photos. They’d dropped by to look at the building while passing through town.
Ann Arbor public art commissioner John Kotarski, holding a lime green flag on a stick, at Sculpture Plaza. Probably part of the docent-led walking art tours that started today.
Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (Jan. 4, 2011): Marsha Chamberlin, as the commission’s acting chair, began Tuesday’s meeting by noting that many of the commissioners planned to attend a memorial gathering for Peter Pollack, a landscape architect and community activist who passed away last month. Because of that, she said, they would make the meeting as expeditious as possible – it lasted less than an hour.
Part of that time was spent hearing a proposal by local developer Peter Allen, who urged commissioners to consider creating some kind of art walk in the Argo Pond area, possibly installing sculptures and using Percent for Art funds from the recently approved millrace reconstruction project. Two city parks hug Argo Pond – Bandemer on the west and Argo on the east.
Allen cited the Michigan Legacy Art Park at the Crystal Mountain resort as an example of something that could be used as a model, and he offered to explore the possibility of seeking matching private funds for the project.
William Dennisuk is still waiting for the state to sign off on a public art installation that could dot a stretch of the Huron River with large vase-like sculptures. As he waits, he spends most of his days in a studio, hoping to complete the project before he returns to Finland later this year.
The Chronicle first met Dennisuk – a visiting artist and lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design – when he came to the October 2009 meeting of the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission. He described his project, called Vessels, as a way to bring together the city and campus communities, and to raise awareness about how we interact with the natural world.
When The Chronicle dropped by the art school’s studio recently to get an update on the project, Dennisuk said that working through the required approval process took longer than expected. Also taking longer than projected was working through his own learning curve for some new techniques he’s trying with these sculptures.
Although he had hoped to install his artwork in April, now it looks like late May will be a more realistic goal.
Raising questions about higher costs and design changes, members of the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission on Monday tabled action on one proposed art installation for the new municipal center, set conditions on another piece, but recommended approval of the largest work of art by German artist Herbert Dreiseitl.
The $841,541 budget submitted just last week by Dreiseitl for the three pieces of art – including design fees already paid to him – exceeds AAPAC’s original cap of $750,000 for the project. AAPAC had set aside another $250,000 for other public art projects on the municipal center site, and plans to use part of that amount to pay for Dreiseitl’s project.
Even at the higher cost, Dreiseitl has warned that creating all three pieces for that price will be “challenging” – and some commissioners said they should consider providing more funding, if it’s necessary to achieve his vision. The complete vision was unclear on Monday, however, since AAPAC did not have final drawings for his proposed two interior wall pieces.
Strolling through Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown area, you might notice the large, erratically structured arch standing on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Catherine Street, in the plaza known as Sculpture Park. Whether you’re on the way to the Smoothie King or are searching for place to sit down for a moment at one of the surrounding tables, this cubist entryway merits a closer look.
The Kerrytown Arch was created by University of Michigan graduate David Heberling in 1977. According to “Public Art in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County” by Martha Keller and Michael Curtis, it serves as a “symbolic gate” between the downtown business district and Kerrytown, akin to “triumphal archs” the Romans constructed to mark their conquests in ancient Italy, France, North Africa and Asia.
The sculpture by Doug Hollis outside the University of Michigan Hospital is a moving work of art. Literally.
Hollis – an Ann Arbor native and University of Michigan alumnus – described the piece as a “kinetic screen.” Located outside of the hospital’s main entrance, the sculpture is made entirely of stainless steel and contains rotating components that spin in the wind. Hollis explained that wind, water and motion are the main elements of his artistic vocabulary.
The university commissioned the sculpture, called “Rotations,” to honor the memory of the University of Michigan Medical Center transplant team who died when their plane crashed into Lake Michigan in June 2007.
Last week The Chronicle reported that Dream On Futon planned to close next month, and during our interview with owner Doreen Collins, she shared some memories from her nearly 15 years as a downtown Ann Arbor retailer. Among those were affectionate recollections – and several photos – of Jake Woods, better known as Shakey Jake.
She asked us if we’d seen the life-size wire sculpture of him. When we returned a blank look and said, “What?!” she filled us in.
First, some background: Jake died in September 2007. Then in his 80s, he’d been a fixture around town for decades, instantly recognizable in his shades, hat, suit and bow tie, often carrying or playing his beat-up guitar. Everyone wanted to say they knew Shakey Jake. He had his own “I Brake for Jake” bumper stickers. Hundreds showed up for his funeral at Muehlig Funeral Chapel, and many brought instruments that afterwards they played joyously in an impromptu parade in his honor.
Many knew of Jake, but few knew him well. Among those few were Collins and Carol Lopez, owner of the Peaceable Kingdom on South Main Street, around the corner from Dream On Futon. Collins wanted to pay tribute to her friend, and proposed to Lopez that they commission Stef Kopka to create a wire sculpture of Jake, just chilling, as he often did, in a white plastic lawn chair.
The Chronicle understands that art can require heavy lifting, but usually that’s meant in a metaphorical sense. Not so on Monday, when workers hoisted 23,000 pounds of steel sculpture in front of the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s new wing on South State Street.
The work being installed was “Orion” by artist Mark di Suvero. It’s the first of two large outdoor sculptures by di Suvero that will be on long-term loan to UMMA – the second, “Shang,” will go up later in the plaza between the old museum and its new building.