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Tampa Museum of Art announces proposed purchase of a monumental Plensa sculpture

Laura With Bun is a Jaume Plensa cast-iron sculpture that stands 23 feet tall.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Laura With Bun is a Jaume Plensa cast-iron sculpture that stands 23 feet tall.

TAMPA — The monumental sculptures by Jaume Plensa on view at the Tampa Museum of Art have been a big hit, especially those that sit on the grounds outside the building overlooking Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. They will depart on May 15 when the exhibition ends. But one, museum leaders hope, will become a permanent resident.

The museum plans to purchase Laura With Bun, a cast-iron sculpture soaring 23 feet into the air and weighing more than 18,000 pounds. It presents a striking image of a young woman, stylized almost to flatness when viewed from certain angles, that greets visitors as they walk from the parking garage to the museum. It is one of the most serene works in "Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape," a contemplative portrait that reduces the woman's features to minimal suggestions.

Plensa, 61, is a Spanish artist who has gained international success with his large figurative sculptures, often made of metal and imbued with philosophical questions such as the duality between our spiritual and physical selves. His most famous work in the United States is Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park, installed in 2004. Two glass brick towers rise 50 feet in a granite reflecting pool on which projections of Chicago residents constantly rotate. When their mouths purse, a cascade of water appears to spill out.

The museum declined to give the purchase price because, representative Nancy Kipnis said, it was negotiated to make it affordable for the museum. But as a comparison, another monumental figurative sculpture, 44 feet tall, was purchased by New York's Madison Square Park Conservancy for more than $600,000.

Major donors already have lined up, and include Celia and Jim Ferman, Penny and Jeff Vinik and the Williams family. Kipnis also said the total dollars raised weren't being released, but that the museum still needed about $45,000 to complete the fundraising.

Contact Lennie Bennett at lbennett@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8293.

.If you go

Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape

The exhibition is at the Tampa Museum of Art through May 15. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $15 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, Florida educators and active military and $5 for students. Children younger than 6 free. Note that many of the sculptures, including Laura With Bun, are outside the museum and in the lobby and require no admission fee to view. tampamuseum.org or (813) 274-8130.

Tampa Museum of Art announces proposed purchase of a monumental Plensa sculpture 04/13/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 8:48pm]
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