Saturday, May 12, 2012

Where Did the Mounds Go??

As can be seen from this photo, David E. Davis put great emphasis on the three mounds -- represented here with blue waves -- in designing his "Bridge to Knowledge II" sculpture, currently on display at the Sculpture Center compound. 
In 1984, the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library commissioned the original version of "Bridge to Knowledge," seen here:
Claudia Mesch said this about the mounds in the "Bridge to Knowledge" series:

"Davis pursued his interest in the three-dimensional volume of the triangle in his commission for the Beachwood Public Library, Bridge to Knowledge, of 1984.... He also suggests the origin of civilization on a more local level: the mounds of Bridge cite the effigy mounds of the Ohio River Valley, such as the Alligator Mound or the Octagon.  These sites are thought  to have been created by the ancient Hopewell Culture, the earliest residents of Ohio.  Bridge to Knowledge therefore unties the origins of civilization in language and in Ohio and indicates that these origins are preserved as texts in the repository which is the library for future generations." (Claudia Mesch, "A Discipline for Modern Urban Space: David E. Davis's Public Sculptures Since 1975," in David E. Davis: Artist and Humanist: Sculpture 1967 - 2002, (2003), p. 26.)

So it was with great surprise recently that I drove by the CCPL/Beachwood and saw this:

The three mounds, representing the Ohio element of ancient knowledge, had been filled in and a hedge planted around the top!  These mounds were the third of the sculpture Davis was sufficiently concerned with to accentuate with the blue element in the subsequent version.   Here it is today from the rear:

One of the problems with installing an outdoor sculpture is one never knows what people unassociated with the original project, such as physical plant folks, will decide to do years later.

A William McVey Sculpture in Pepper Pike

I was working with Jonathan Herr this morning, on a map of all the William McVey sculptures in Cleveland, but then had to run out to Pepper Pike to pick up a collection.  On the corner of Pepper Ridge Road and S.O.M. Center, I noticed this piece.  Inquiring about it, I was surprised to discover that it was by McVey.  It's untitled, best I can determine, and was vandalized a few years ago, but restored by the neighbors.  We'll add it to the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory and the map of McVey's works.  Quite a coincidence!

Slight change of direction for my blog

Because I am actively involved with conserving and documenting outdoor sculpture in Cleveland and with theater and dance for the Michael Schwartz Library, I'm going to consider posting things from time to time on the arts in Cleveland, from a historian's and librarian's viewpoint.  For example, we have upgraded the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory database and are now going to start correcting and expanding its coverage.  (And any comments and opinions I make here are of course solely mine, just as I've maintained all along was the case about CSU, too.)

New Mural at the Beck Center

According to, a new 51-foot mural by Natasha Turovsky now graces a wall in front of the Beck Center: