photo by pkdon50 via flickr

My town of Vancouver has its share of public art, much of it listed in a Public Art Registry run by the City. Very few pieces seem to get widespread praise and quite a few are disliked on sight and ever after by most of us. The one artist who got it right, I think, was Chung Hung. His work above is called Gateway to the Northwest Passage. It was installed in 1980, survived a blast of unkind remarks initially, and has gone on to become beloved, not only by me.

Just a year after the Gateway was installed, Chung Hung’s Red Spring appeared in Robson Square, the home of Vancouver’s Law Courts and the city’s unofficial civic centre, designed by Arthur Erickson. The Red Spring is not only a beautiful object, day and night, you can’t help smiling at the thought that it may be the main spring for the workings of the legal machinery going on around it. Chung Hung moved to Vancouver from China in 1969 and lived and worked here until his death in 1994.

Image by Joshc from Flickr.

Down the coast in Seattle, an entire park has been devoted to public sculpture. The above is a piece called Eagle by Alexander Calder.

No matter how large his sculptures, Calder’s work is always inviting and playful. Above is called Flamingo. It’s in Chicago. The man himself was big in stature and talent, but also humble and playful.