Tag Archives: Sculpture

Look what I found

My favorite type of art is found-object sculpture. In a country where the average America tosses five pounds of trash per person per day into its landfills, according to a 2010 Yale University research study, you’ve got to appreciate when a clever artist turns garbage into an objet d’art. Recycling at its finest.

As I waited to board a plane recently, I looked up and noticed this beautiful wall piece.

saxophone art

saxophone closeup

Closeup of Salty Peanuts.

This assemblage by artist Mildred Howard is created from 130 real saxophones, according to the SFO Museum. Above and below the saxophones are the opening bars of jazz great Dizzy Gillespie’s famous composition, “Salt Peanuts.”


Get it? A sculpture called Salty Peanuts in an airport? An environment where peanuts is practically a food group (or, at least, it was before the modern era of food allergies).

“The artwork is not only an homage to Gillespie,” SFO Museum writes on its website, “it is also an acknowledgement of the importance of jazz in San Francisco’s cultural history.”

Even better is a found-object sculpture that is actually functional, like this menu board outside the Bull & Bear restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando.

bull and bear menu

Look closely at the stand. It’s made of cutlery and kitchen implements. And how about that palm tree in the corner? Clearly, the trunk is made of wine corks (and the coconuts are made of champagne corks). The leaves? Forks. Forks!

But perhaps the cleverest found-object sculpture I saw recently were these robot portraits hanging above the bathrooms in Alexis Baking Company in Napa (if you don’t stop in for the art, drop by for the Huevos Rancheros — served on crispy corn tortillas with black beans and topped with perfectly poached eggs and fresh pico de gallo, they’re the best I’ve ever consumed).

bathroom art

She-Robot and He-Robot are made of old computer motherboards plus kids’ shoes and back scratchers and other paraphernalia. If you’re in too much a hurry to look up when you’re trying to determine which bathroom to enter, check out those little signs on the doors: A donut and a cream-filled eclair.

Well, it’s funny to those of us who are gender-conforming anyway. Touché, Alexis Baking Co.

There was also a surprise inside the ladies’ room (a good one).

bathroom mirror

That image above the vanity is actually a freehand-cut mirror reflecting the painted sidewall.

So every woman who washes her hands after a meal gets a nice piece of pie for dessert. Perfect.


Art borne ‘In Tension’ or of intention

With a last name like “Brilliant,” one might expect a lot from him.

I walked by a pop-up art display in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, earlier this week, and I was struck with the title: “In Tension.”

Say it a few times fast. Sounds like “intention” doesn’t it? Did the artist, um, intend that?

It’s a strange-looking work in a former drug store of what turns out to be coffee stirrers and coffee cup sleeves; it looks like a big, airy tornado. Or possibly a representation of Jabba the Hut’s intestinal tract. It’s the work of artist Jonathan Brilliant, and it’s on display only until Saturday.

For images and a description, click here. According to the story at Al.com, the entire structure is woven together (get it? with tension?) and supported by tubes of the coffee cup sleeves.

Like good art, the work made me think about the difference between tension and intention. Tension is bad, right? But in this case, tension is required to keep the structure together. Intention was required to create the work (that amount of coffee stirrers doesn’t just appear out of thin air). But the work is on display for only eight days. Who intends that?

Now I’m thinking about “In Tension” in my own life. Is my life full of tension? Or intention? How about yours?

For another post today on tenses and intention, check out my author blog here.