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Sculpture in the unFrozen North
Jerry Daniel's MM Dancing - from the side, it looks like two people dancing.
From the front — it is the gateway piece at HOP — it forms the Hall Office park logo.
north, just past the end (not anymore)
of the Tollway, in Frisco, Texas, there's a massive real estate development
called Hall Office Park ( HOP )
filled almost brim full with amazing sculptures by a near Who's Who of
Texas artists scattered in and out of their many buildings.
On September 6, 2001 HOP opened with a giant reception for potential space renters, various mucky-mucks, real estate agents galore, artists whose work peppers the park, and a bunch of other people. It was a giant party.
The evening's activities were more than a little surreal — someone said it was like an acid trip, what with golf carts and buses hauling people around all over the multi-acre park, looking for art, looking for more art, and looking for food.
We avoided the speeches, instead spending that valuable daylight stomping
all over the grounds rendering opinions and photographing every piece of art
in sight. I heard them rattling on and on about real estate and listing all
the artists involved like a solemn list of war heroes, but we were much more
interested in art than talk. Besides it was twenty degrees cooler inside.
Glass by Polly Gessel
One of the gems
we found on the fourth floor of one of those buildings was this exquisite
glass window. I had to shoot it through a roll-down grate, so I couldn't
get past the wad of flowers silhouette. But it sure looked grand those few
seconds while we held the clattering elevator door open.
Andrew Rogers - Observe - bronze
When we'd cooled down enough, we'd wander out agin into the sunlight. We never did find all the works scattered about, but we found a bunch. These elegant forms thrilled us while the speakers droned on across the lake. We could tell what they were talking about, but we weren't paying much attention. A map of all the art would have helped. Something with works, titles, artists. Most were labeled, but finding those labels wasn't always easy. After we finally got home, I found a pretty good map with a lot of the pieces close to 6801 Gaylord Parkway building where the speeches were, but there are many works scattered around the park not on that map. All along, we had the feeling that the art was just icing on the real estate, which was the real reason for the party.
Michael O'Michael - La Mujer Roja 2000 - polychrome steel
We found giant, sweeping metal pieces whose top sproing bounced in the wind. The red was so red my camera had trouble rendering it. We wound in and out of the niches and apertures of this winding wonder, then off around the lake to see what else we could find...
Maternal Caress, 1999
Romantic, emotional works shining in the falling sunlight on the far side of the lake.
Quanta: Celtic Spirit Catcher 2000
acrylic, F6 cement, foam and wire
Ice cream sculptures melting in the sun.
Most of the art was very well placed.
John Brough Miller
Dolphin Rhythm 1990
Although some few objects suffered from juxtaposed reality.
H.O.P. Rabbits 2000
More than a couple times we had to wonder
whether what we were watching was art or just some bizarre object. We had
our doubts about these rabbits, but later I recognized an in-joke on the cows
near dowtown Dallas' convention center. Like real rabbits, they had multiplied
all over a traffic circle.
Other object's artness was even more controversial. I'm pretty sure the ground-level, dark metal thing with metal danglies really is a manhole. But I had to admire the practical shape and bright colors of the more familiar, also untitled, piece.
We found this guy, standing faithfully next to one of the elevators, and it startled me when I looked up and beheld it. Seeing it now, the colors of this tall fantasy seem almost absurd. But in its place, guarding the elevator portal, it all seemed just perfect.
Clock Rider 1987
This looked like and was placed on an
inner wall very much like a clock. We had to wonder if the hands
moved, even tried to spy wires behind the disk before we realized it was well
past ten till three. We were getting giddy with sculpture.
Figure Aloft 1995
straw, plaster, wood, steel, pigment
Extending out toward the middle of the large foyer of some building or another, this light humanoid seemed caught forever in a gravity-free fall.
wood, paint and monofilament
Meanwhile, a dark and snarling, identifiable — but only barely — animal stood its ground on a nearby riser.
It takes a bit of looking — and
the context of other small, children-like beings nearby to figure out that
these are children playing leapfrog. The fireplug above is just to their right,
seemingly in that same, happy context and scale.
blown glass and steel
Lined up along three sides inside the clearstory over the main entrance to what might well be HOP's main building — and reflected gloriously in the facing inner window — are these pulled and stretched bubbles of translucent glass. We walked in and out under it several times before we bumped into Jim Bowman, who pointed it out to us.
In another foyer, clear across campus is this elegant, taffy-pull glomp of gleaming metal. I know it looks miniature, like on a shelf somewhere, but this sinewy sculpture is at least twice as tall as any human. I had to back into the wall opposite just to get it all in the picture, dodging people entering the door to the hot ourside just to the left.
Blanco #17 1985
steel and paint
Much bigger and brighter in the late slant of afternoon sunlight was this lionlike, lakeside behemouth.
The Wiz 2001
steel and paint
(See it animated on Art's Member page.)
Red was a popular color for large sculpture, and when we recently ran an animated image of this giant toy, one persistent critic complained that it would blend too easily into the Texas sky, but I watched this thing a lot and never saw it blend with anything but the wind. I did see it still several times and thought about reaching up for some winder to give it a wiggle. But when the wind caught it later, those big, tubular sails in the middle were fairly flying on their vertical axle.
Several weeks later, high
winds spun the spinning middle of Shirer's piece apart. He has put it back
together a couple of times and may again.
Arbor [detail] 2001
One of K's faves was this elegant metal fabrication, down by the
lake, near the front gate. I couldn't get a good angle on the whole of it,
without rendering its various, line-thin parts too tiny in these low resolution,
digital images, but I became enraptured with the swirling rods comprising
the structure's roof, weather-mappish dynamics, open to the elements.
4 Ravens Nevermore! 2000
wood, steel, paint
I kept coming back to these four ravens. I'm fond of those smarter than likely birds anyway, but these four avian smart-alecs, spinning atop their spindly perches, seemed perfectly in place, ready to steal any bright objects that occasioned their view.
Finding the food among the extended estate was another challenge. We could smell it from the foyer of one building but had given up on ever finding it. We were tired and hungry and even talking about greasy hamburgers on the way home. A shuttle was pulling up outside, and we were ready to go with it wherever it was going, when Frances Bagley asked how and where we were going.
She mentioned gobs of food on the fourth floor of this building and more in another "over there." We quickly pulled a 180 back inside, zipped up the nearest elevator full of fellow food seekers and had our fill of wonderful stir-fry goodies, a cornucopia of fruit, cheese, drinks and more etceteras than we could count, served in Chinese take-out boxes with chopsticks in plain sight and clear plastic forks hidden for the asking close by.
After we became human again
we heard that carved food was being served in another building's main floor,
so we rode out into the night on another bus. We'd read about continuous tours
throughout the grounds, but they musta just meant that golf carts and vans
would slide around the campus into the night. We never saw any instance of
actual guided touring. Maybe we just didn't know the right people. Most of
the folks we encountered were as lost as we were.
After warmed-over dry beef — felt
lilke felt, more cheese and fruit, we wandered off to find Brave Combo;
did The Twist among stiff evening breezes while trying to determine if those
were the same Brave boys we'd polkaed to two decades ago; then Chicken Danced
with a thin crowd. I stood in the big middle of the revolving Chicken circle
after clucking, clapping, stooping and shaking akwardly, to photograph a little
girl flying by in a bright dress.
Later, we found the truck and drove around HOP's biways and alleys to all the dark corners of the park we hadn't already seen — and found even more sculptures scattered off into the darkness.
We also heard about a Frisco "undercover" policeman going around
to all the participating artists at dinner asking if any of them had
some dope to smoke. Just when ya start believing culture has finally
come to the 'burbs, some idiot goes out and proves that it hasn't...
PS: There's lots more sculpture out there than I got decent pictures of — more than we ever even found or knew to look for, and I suspect, more yet to come. Yes, I think it's well worth the drive. It's like an urban Connemara, with much denser placements. And it'll be up all the time, rain or shine, through the seasons.
Of course, there's lots of other art there, too. On our blind-alley wanderings, K and I saw plenty of stupid corporate art on walls and down halls we had to turn the lights on to see, Then we quickly switched them off.
But the sculpture gardens, inside and out, are full of delights.
All Contents © 2001 by J R Compton
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