Monday, July 18, 2011

An eye for an icon

Look, up there in the sky… it’s…it' That is, sky where there should be Neil Dawson’s high flying sculpture Ferns. The work has been taken down for a check-up after some signs of metal fatigue were noted in its last annual inspection. Will it go back up? Of course it will. The sculpture has become an icon - the icon really - of Wellington. Its clear imagery, spectacular positioning and lightness of being have combined to make it what all public sculptors probably seek in their hearts to create: an object of love and affection. 

Icon making is not easy. You can’t do it by just cobbling together a bunch of banal ideas as they've done for our $350,000 Rugby World cup eyesore. We've mentioned Len Lye’s Wind wand before as an icon for New Plymouth and going through Los Angeles airport we saw the stirring of what might become another icon for LA. It's Chris Burden’s installation Urban light outside LACMA that uses 200 traditional LA street lamps and is a great place to be photographed in (an important icon criterion). We've seen it featured in a number of articles on LA and there in the airport it was doing icon biz on a large light-box.
Image: Wellington’s Civic Square missing its key icon. You can watch Ferns being taken down here.