Art around us

Published July 7, 2000|Updated Sept. 27, 2005

(ran TP edition)

We won't call you "exploding chicken" or any other names. We won't even mention your price tag. Instead, we will try to understand what you are trying to tell us. As we walk from office building to office building or along Bayshore Boulevard, we'll stop and ponder your steel beams and your purpose. And forget, for a moment, the worries of the day.

"Lightning" by Jonathan Borofsky

Ice Palace

Three 70-foot-tall steel pipes, zigzagging skyward. A 9-foot-tall silhouetted figure, a man from one direction, a woman from another, stands under it. The bolt is painted industrial yellow, the color of hard hats and traffic signs. "I'm looking for images that are archetypal, that represent all of us," said Borofsky, a Maine artist. That's why he rejected an early suggestion that the figure be a hockey player.

"The Wave" by Mary Ann Unger

Bayshore Boulevard, north of Bay to Bay Boulevard

Originally, this sculpture was in front of City Hall, on a 6-foot brick base. But the artist, Mary Ann Unger of New York, never intended for the sculpture to be viewed at an upward angle. She describes her creation as a shell unfolding. It has movement, she said, like a wave breaking and fish jumping. "The arches are sections of concentric ellipses, which are like the orbits of the planets of our solar system." The Wave is also the backdrop of many wedding photos.

"Zig Zag" by Linda Howard

Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center

"The shapes created remind one of growth forms in nature," said Howard, a Florida artist. The piece was created from aluminum. "When the light is reflected, it gives the feeling of an inner energy being omitted from the interval mass of the metal itself." Translation: It sometimes looks transparent when light hits it.

"America, America" by Barbara Neijna

John F. Germany Central Library

Red steel nestled inside the curve of a staircase, a series of planes, including a rectangle and acute triangle: The artist says it suggested a ritual entryway.

"Visual Welcome" by Yaacov Agam

Zack Street at the Hillsborough River

Agam is an internationally acclaimed Israeli artist, who also did the water sculpture Shamayim at the Tampa Convention Center. Visual Welcome is made from aircraft aluminum, nine panels set 30 inches apart and painted on both sides with Agam's characteristic kinetic patterns, which change and move as the viewer passes along the length of the sculpture.

"Family of Man" by Geoffrey Naylor

Bayshore Boulevard, north of Gandy Boulevard

In stainless steel, it depicts a man and woman with children. It was the first sculpture on Bayshore Boulevard. Naylor, who died in 1997, was a nationally exhibited sculptor and University of Florida art professor.

"Untitled" by George Sugarman

Kennedy Boulevard at Ashley Drive

Called the "exploding chicken" by some. In the early 1960s, New York sculptor George Sugarman, who died last year, was among the first to make large-scale sculptures that sat directly on the ground, not on a pedestal.

"Solstice" by Charles Perry

101 E Kennedy Blvd.

Described by the artist as a "two-thirds twist triangular torus mobius," it came in 600 pieces and was assembled at another location before moving poolside.

"Winged Figure: From the Firmament" by Michele Oka Donor

Mile markers along Bayshore

The 15 markers denote each mile, half mile and kilometer, a total of 4.2 miles. Each is unique, cast in bronze and 6 inches in diameter. Oka Donor is a New York artist who was born in Florida. Images for the markers were borrowed from Tampa's natural environment, rather than simply denoting distance numerically. Other use: Runners and skaters use them to track progress.

"Fish on Bayshore" by Lorraine Genovar

Bayshore Boulevard and Platt Street Bridge, near the Jose Gaspar

This is the same spot fishermen used to display their prize-wining tarpon catches. Genovar, a Tampa artist, made her fish out of fiberglass. There is a redfish, a barracuda, a bull dolphin, a tarpon and a snook, all indigenous to Florida. The fish are painted with anti-graffiti paint. Metal rods go through the bodies to secure them. Still, a month after its installation, two of the five fish were stolen. The public was outraged. "I'm amazed at how many people noticed those two fish were gone," Genovar said at the time.