Claes Oldenburg, Artist Statement, (Dropped Bowl…)

Dropped Bowl detail

Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels
The site was a wide area surrounded by an eclectic mix of architecture and highways. A centralized fountain in a circular shape surrounded by flagpoles, as projected in the landscape designer’s plans, did not seem to respond to the location. Coosje proposed instead an anti-hierarchical approach, consisting of forms scattered over the plaza. In reference to the conventional shape of a fountain, ours would be round, but resembling a broken plate, with the oranges deconstructed into slices and expressively cut peels. We thought that the jagged fragments would be more interesting if they came from a bowl, coincidentally a nod to a local institution, the football stadium known as the Orange Bowl. Trying out the idea on a model, Coosje dispersed the parts with abandon to introduce chance and irregularity into the orderly grid of the plaza. Cesar Trasobares, director of the Art in Public Places program, likened the effect to a piñata, which spills treasures in all directions when it is smashed. The flying slices, peels, and fragments of the bowl are caught as if in stop-motion, bouncing off the surfaces of the plaza. Pools in the shape of spilled liquid, large and small, were cut into the pavement beneath the sculptural pieces. Jets of water emerge from the pools, programmed at irregular heights and surprising intervals in repeated reenactments of the breaking bowl’s impact.

At the time of its inauguration the Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels could be seen to represent a city in the making, deriving its particular order out of the apparent disorder accompanying Miami’s expansion.

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