Tag Archives: Public art

A Trio of duos

More things from my everyday objects series. These are all things I found around DC in my peregrinations on my way to and from work. They all have a theme of “two” in them – two faces, two paper boxes, two trash cans.

Two Heads
Two Heads

The sibling rivalry is in the two newspapers themselves represented in the two boxes – the Post and the Times. The Post is considered by many to be the “paper of record” for Washington DC, whereas the Times is a partisan hack with an extremely conservative bent, owned by a highly suspect organization (the Unification Church aka the Moonies). Depending on your political bent, the Post is a liberal shill and the Times a bastion of integrity. Either way, they co-exist in a shrinking market and both are struggling to find their feet in the post-internet age.

Sibling Rivalry - Two Paper Boxes
Sibling Rivalry – Two Paper Boxes

I call this last one two twins because there was by happy accident two people of parallel size to the trash cans, both striking the same pose in the background. It made for a serendipitous symmetry.

Two Twins
Two Twins

Public Sculpture, Federal Reserve Building

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors buildings in Washington DC have an incredible art collection inside. Most of it is not accessible to the public, as it is displayed throughout the working areas of the facilities. There is, however, an exhibition space inside one of the buildings that can be viewed by appointment – The Federal Reserve Art Collection. There are some pieces, however, that are on permanent public display. There is a gorgeous fountain that operates from April to November-ish (depending on weather) and on the north side of the Martin building, there is the baseball sculpture and the Italian bronze Discus Thrower sculpture. It’s not entirely clear from my reading that the baseball sculpture, entitled Full Count, is part of the Federal Reserve collection, but I believe it to be so from this article. The Discus Thrower, however, is not. It is a replica of the Discobolos of Myrmon, an ancient Roman bronze, given to the people of the United States by the nation of Italy in commemoration of the United States’ assistance in returning Nazi looted art after World War II.

Here is the discus thrower statue. He stands atop a marble column head carved to mimic an ancient Corinthian capital. The discus thrower is located in a city park which also houses a tennis court.

Discus Thrower, Kelley Park
Discus Thrower, Kelley Park

I have two different takes on Full Count – one in color and one in b/w, each from a different perspective. The color image is viewing the sculptural group from over the pitcher’s shoulder. The white marble building in the background is the Martin building of the Federal Reserve.

Full Count, from the Pitcher's View
Full Count, from the Pitcher’s View

The black-and-white image is my take on just the pitcher, from a profile view. Both were shot on the same rainy, overcast day.

Pitcher, Full Count
Pitcher, Full Count

I think the two images side-by-side really brings out what I was talking about yesterday regarding emotional impact of an image in one medium vs the other. There’s no judgment value being placed on that difference – each one has its own equally valid resonance, and there’s no need to prefer one medium over the other, just as joy and sadness are equal emotional partners.

All three images were shot with my Tele-Rolleiflex. As I’m getting used to shooting with it, I’m really liking the images it makes. It just takes a bit of practice to get to know when to use it and how best to use it to take advantage of its strengths.

Toronto – 231 Fort York Boulevard

The building I stayed in at 231 Fort York Boulevard is a thoroughly modern 28-story high rise, composed of glass and steel. At street level, however, the architects softened the impact with a still thoroughly modern, but decidedly more organic, approach. Twisting ribbons of blackened steel, undulating concrete, and dense vegetation combine to give it an almost Antoni Gaudi feel.

A loveseat style bench, formed out of an undulation in the concrete:

Bench
Bench

A canopy formed out of steel ribbons and the branches of trees shade another larger seating area:

Arbor
Arbor

The building entrance is a riot of steel ribbons, twisted into organic shapes that bring to mind ocean waves and seashells:

Entrance
Entrance

As an architectural critic, I question the use of these shapes because they really don’t relate to the building at all – they’re found only on the street side, and only at street level. The courtyard entrance where vehicle drop-off and pickup occurs has nothing at all like this, and nowhere else at any higher level is this style repeated. None of the upper balconies have ribbon-like railings, just typical glass and steel flat planes.

As a pedestrian, though, I’m quite pleased that it exists – it certainly makes the sidewalk level more interesting and in the summertime, more pleasant!

Toronto Public Art – Full Circle, by Peter Von Tiesenhausen

This statue has an interesting story – it has literally, as part of its creation process, completed a circuit of the periphery of Canada, thus the title. The original was a wood carving of five male figures, which was then charred in a fire, and then cast in iron. The iron casting was then loaded in the back of the artist’s own pickup truck and driven across the open plains of Canada. It took a trip across the Arctic Circle on a ship, and made landfall again before being brought to Toronto, where it now stands. In all, it was a five year, 35,000 kilometer journey. The pedestal is designed to be a bench to invite people to stop and sit.

Full Circle, by Peter Von Tiesenhausen
Full Circle, by Peter Von Tiesenhausen

The statue inspired someone to leave this little wire figure token between the feet of one of the figures. When I saw the statue originally, I thought it was some kind of war memorial, which may have also been what went through the mind of the person who left the figurine.

Statue with Token
Statue with Token