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.


At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would be interesting to know where some of the other, real, mounds went!

Mound Elementary School around E55th north of Fleet. Any mound in sight?

Whittlesley spoke of a sizeable amount off Broadway close to E55th. When did that get leveled?

At one time you didnt' have to go to southern Ohio to see some of these artifacts- they were all around.

And why do we hear the Indians lived only on the East side, and never really settled west of the Cuy?


At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Mary Condon Brereton said...

Hi, Bill! Your blog reminded me of an incident regarding another David Davis outdoor installation: in 1994 (or '95?), the well-meaning physical plant manager at Beck Center in Lakewood decided to repaint Davis's orange sculpture in Beck Center's front courtyard. Gulp. The Managing Director, David Pierce, walked a tightrope to convince Davis to repaint/restore his now-black sculpture to its original color and to convince the board of trustees to pay for the restoration.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Bill Barrow said...

Interesting, thanks! But the Beck Center still nestles their green trash can into the crook of the Davis sculpture's base.


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