Part 2 of a Series
Dear Fellow Travelers,
I have a quiz for you, but it is an easy one because I will also give you the answer.
QUESTION: What do churches, restaurants, and salt/pepper shakers all have in common?
ANSWER: They are all part of a broad spectrum of favorite places or things that travelers seek out or collect on their journeys.
Personally, my true passion is sculpture. In my travels, I seek out, and collect, photos and information about spectacular sculptures. They can be touristic or whimsical, historic or kooky, iconic or weird. It doesn’t matter. I love them all.
On a recent trip to Dallas, Texas I was overwhelmed by the myriad of sculptures I encountered. The City of Dallas Public Art Collection numbers over 300 individual works valued at over $20,000,000. The collection features works by world-renowned artists, as well as many Dallas artists, some of whom have achieved international recognition. All have made a significant contribution to the mystique of "Big D."
The Dallas Public Art Collection could fill a book. However, since space is limited, I will share with you six of the most unique sculptures I discovered in “The Big D”.
Stay tuned for my version of SIX IN THE CITY.
1. B&G: This one is touristic. People are encouraged to step into the middle of the letters, where the “I” was deliberately left out of the word BIG, and become the ”I” in the BIG. With the launch of the B&G campaign in 2013, 26 six-foot-tall B&G structures were created. Since then, more than 70 custom sets have been created for holidays, special events, corporations, and celebrities.
|EVERYTHING IS BIG IN TEXAS|
2. THE TRAVELING MAN: This one is whimsical. Brad Oldham’s 38-foot tall public sculpture stands guard at Good-Latimore and Elm Streets in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas. (A bit of interesting trivia…Ellum takes its name from the way early residents pronounced the word Elm.) Installed in 2009, it melds whimsy with industrial fortitude. In 2011, the Texas Society of Architects recognized Oldham with its prestigious Artisan Award and heralded him as the Artist/Craftsman of the Year by the American Institute for Architects.
TRAVELING MAN STANDS GUARD OVER DEEP ELLUM
3. CATTLE DRIVE: This one is historic. Robert Summers’ 49 bronze steers and three trail riders at Pioneer Plaza celebrate the trails that brought settlers to Dallas. The larger-than life steers and their trail riders ride along an ersatz ridge and cliff that is enhanced by a flowing stream. The Cattle Drive Sculpture is the largest bronze monument of its kind in the world.
|LARGEST BRONZE MONUMENT OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD|
4. BRITISH BOWLER HAT: This one is kooky. Artist Keith Turman’s giant 20-foot-wide British Bowler Hat, weighing close to two tons, is precariously hooked on a coat rack in a grassy lot on the south edge of downtown at Griffin and Ervay Streets. It was originally meant to hang on the corner of a British furniture store, but it didn’t comply with the building codes. Hence, it became another piece of Americana. When I looked at the sculpture, I saw more than a hat. I pictured a haughty, nattily dressed gentleman, endowed with sparkling blue eyes and a lorgnette.
A TIP OF THE HAT TO YOU
5. PEGASUS: This one is iconic. Pegasus is a Dallas landmark, originally built for the Magnolia Oil Company in 1934. (It later became the logo for Mobil Oil.) For 65 years, the original Pegasus flew 450 feet above ground atop the Renaissance Revival Magnolia Building (later the Magnolia Hotel). The elements finally took their toll and, in 1999, Pegasus returned to earth and disappeared. In 2012, it was located, restored and installed on a platform atop a 22-foot-high oil derrick that serves as its base. The renovated original ”Flying Red Horse” now reigns majestically on the grounds of the Omni Dallas Hotel.
PEGASUS ATOP OIL DERRICK, BACKGROUNDED BY REUNION TOWER & GEO-DECK
6. “THE EYE”: This one is weird. In the sculpture garden of the Joule Hotel (directly across the street from the hotel) is a 30-foot-tall eyeball. It is so realistic looking that one might think it had just been surgically removed from the Jolly Green Giant. However, it is said that this ocular oddity is modeled after the actual eyeball of its creator, contemporary artist Tony Tasset. This humongous eyeball is reminiscent of the old roadside signs that used to pop up along the backroads of America.
|HERE’S LOOKIN’ AT YOU, KID|
Happy trails to you!
POSTSCRIPT: Once I finished my list of SIX IN THE CITY, I felt guilty. I discovered so much fabulous public art throughout Dallas that I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a heads-up about two more of my favorites.
THE DALLAS PIECE is a classic Henry Moore installed in 1978 in front of the I.M. Pei City Hall. Moore and Pei collaborated in designing a sculpture that would be massive enough to compliment the Dallas City Hall's structure and the wide horizontal plane of the plaza. The organic, curved sculpture contrasts with the geometric and block-like architecture of the building.
|A CLASSIC HENRY MOORE|
THE MARIENELA TEDDY BEARS are just plain fun. Driving past the mansions in Highland Park, (reputed to be the home of 14 billionaires and innumerable millionaires) you will come to Lakeside Park. Across the footbridge, J.T. Williams’ fanciful granite teddy bears abide on beautifully landscaped grounds along the banks of Turtle Creek. Little girls giggle at them; bigger boys climb on them; puppies cuddle up to them; and young-at-heart oldies get photographed with them.
JUST PLAIN FUN!
No one is ever too old for fun.
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer/Editor and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio