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Art in Plain Sight: “Lady of Germania” PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 05 May 2011 07:09

'Lady of Germania,' by Jeff Adams. Photo by Bruce Walters.

Crossing the Centennial Bridge into Iowa, one is welcomed by a larger-than-life sculpture of a woman with outstretched arms. Behind her is an approximately 90-foot-long colonnade with the word “Davenport” in large capital letters across the top. This gateway is at the location of the city’s first park, Washington Square, and the statue is based on a figure that once stood there.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Gene Horvath Works PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 24 March 2011 07:57

'Invitation,' by Gene Horvath. Photo by Bruce Walters.

A 22-foot-high, brightly painted yellow-orange aluminum sculpture was installed at 100 17th Street in Rock Island in 1982. Placed near the entrance of the First National Bank of the Quad Cities, it was created to invite the viewer to join the celebration of the bank’s 130th anniversary. The sculpture was titled, appropriately, Invitation.

Though the building is now the Modern Woodmen Bank building, Invitation stands in the same location. Its intense and pure color suggests a brightly colored flower, and the sculpture seems to bloom from its relatively small, rectangular base – almost like a rapidly growing plant in a vase that has become too small.

The uniform color, on the other hand, suggests industrial fluorescent yellow. Though the sculpture’s shapes are fluid, even elegant, they are formed from hard-edged, seamless sheets of metal. The sculpture’s dynamic arcs seem to describe enormous paths of flight – more akin to a jet fighter than a bird.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Moline War Memorial by C.S. Paolo PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 08:43

War memorial by C.S. Paolo. Photo by Bruce Walters.

A large cast-bronze war memorial has stood in downtown Moline for roughly eight decades. On the sculpture’s north side is the imagery one might expect on such a memorial: an idealized soldier holding an American flag under the spread wings of an eagle. Rising through the sculpture’s center is a towering flag pole.

This is not the oldest war memorial in the Quad Cities, nor is it the most prominent or grandest. It is, however, a thoughtful – perhaps even profound – sculptural group of five figures.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Bettendorf Learning Campus PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 10:46

Matt Kargol, ‘Passages.’ Photo by Bruce Walters.

Passages is a grouping of four rectangular columns prominently placed between the Family Museum and the Bettendorf Public Library on Learning Campus Drive. The column closest to the library lies flat on the ground. In sequence, the other three stand angled at 45 degrees, 67 degrees, and finally fully vertical. The effect of these 18-foot-tall, stainless-steel columns rising in a stop-motion progression is impressive.

Yet what ultimately catches one’s attention is the brightly painted sphere perched precariously at the top of the standing column. An area the size of the sphere has been scooped out of the other columns. These smooth inverse curves are painted in the same bright colors as the sphere – yellow, red, and green – and visually soften the angular metal impact of the sculptural group. They feel like a finger’s indent in a stick of butter. The positioning of these indents creates an illusion of an upward trajectory or path that the sphere has taken.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Sol LeWitt Works PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 08:58

(Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series on the history of public art in the Quad Cities.)

Sol LeWitt, ‘Tower.’ Photo by Bruce Walters.In 1984, a site-specific sculpture by the internationally renowned artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was installed near the south entrance of the RiverCenter on Third Street in Davenport. Titled simply Tower, this sculpture was made of four 21-foot-tall slabs of concrete bolted to a framework of steel I-beams. These slabs, made of crushed marble and silica, were cast using more than a half-mile of Styrofoam strips.

Additional works by LeWitt, Wall Drawing #405 and Two Wall Drawings, were also installed in the center’s atrium at this time. Longtime LeWitt assistant Anthony Sansotta worked with area art students to make these 18-foot-long drawings. In all, roughly 30 Quad Citians helped with the installations – including art students, plasterers, carpenters, painters, cement finishers, laborers, iron workers, crane operators, truck drivers, and electricians.

Don’t look for these works at the RiverCenter, however. Tower was moved to the Figge Art Museum’s plaza in October 2004. The original wall drawings were removed from the RiverCenter, and Wall Drawing #405 was redrawn inside the Figge at the top of the stairway leading to the second-floor galleries. LeWitt claimed this new drawing is not a re-creation but is still the original artwork. He regarded his wall drawings as impermanent and repeatable. And his work is intentionally unemotional.

 
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