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Sculpture in the unFrozen North

Story + Photographs © 2001 by J R Compton

Jerry Daniel -MM Dancing

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.

Way 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.

the speeches

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

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

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

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...


Eliseo Garcia - Maternal Caress

Eliseo Garcia
Maternal Caress, 1999
Cordova limestone

Romantic, emotional works shining in the falling sunlight on the far side of the lake.

David McCullough - Quanta - Celtic Spirit Catcher

David McCullough
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

John Brough Miller
Dolphin Rhythm 1990

Although some few objects suffered from juxtaposed reality.

David Iles - HOP Rabbits

David Iles
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.

manhole   fireplug

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.

David ...

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.


Roger Neidhardt - Clock Rider

Roger Neidhardt
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.  

James Sulivan - Figure Aloft

James Sulivan
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.

Isaac Smith - Panther

Isaac Smith
Panther 2001
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.

Jim Bowman - Bluebonnets

Jim Bowman
Bluebonnets 2001
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.

Mac Whitney - Blanco #17

Mac Whitney
Blanco #17 1985
steel and paint

Much bigger and brighter in the late slant of afternoon sunlight was this lionlike, lakeside behemouth.

Art Shirer - The Wiz

Art Shirer
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.

Jim Cinquemani - Arbor

Jim Cinquemani
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.

Joe Barrington - 4 Ravens Nevermore

Joe Barrington
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.

Dancing to Brave Combo

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
All Rights Reserved. Individual art works
are copyrighted by the individual artists.
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  since late September 2007