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Another Adickes statue downtown

Oh, how it always gives me joy to see David Adickes in the news.

You’d never mistake her for Sam Houston or Stephen F. Austin. Both of those Texas heroes – or at least their concrete likenesses, as rendered by Houston sculptor David Adickes – are more than three times her height. But the concrete lady on Main Street, rising a mere 20 feet from her four-foot pedestal, already is turning heads.

“It’s gorgeous,” passer-by Marie Rogers exclaimed Tuesday on spotting Adickes’ newest artwork at Leeland and Main streets. “She looks so happy and contented.”

“It’s startling,” opined another pedestrian, Ed Lowenberg. “This is such a barren part of town. It’s a nice thing to walk by. It seems so friendly.”

“It’s so peaceful,” said a third, Gene Moses. “She’s so calm, so confident.”

Adickes, 79, whose other works include the Houston statue in Huntsville, the Austin statue in Angleton and oversized replicas of presidential heads in Virginia and South Dakota, called the new downtown statue a monument to “elegant women.”

The statue, modeled after Houston-born dancer and actress Julie Burrows, was purchased by Houston parking lot magnate David Loftus for his property at the southwest corner of Main at Leeland.

The statue, which has been on display at Adickes’ Summer Street studio since its creation nine years ago, was installed on a small plot of lawn amid a sea of parking lots late last week.

On Tuesday, workers were laboring to complete its concrete base. The artwork will be dedicated Saturday at 4 p.m.

Cool. Here’s a picture in the Chron, and here’s another courtesy of Rob. I did not manage to get a picture of “Looking Forward” when we went giant Presidential head photographing, but that’s okay. I need to schedule a drive-by on Main and Leeland so I can get a pic in the new habitat. This is one of the things I just love about Houston.

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One Comment

  1. Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible says:



    ‘Elegance’ floats in sea of downtown parking lots

    The artist says giant cement head represents return of aesthetics
    “It’s part of an image that I’m particularly fond of,” Adickes said. “It’s the rhythm of the hair. The high cheekbones. The Roman profile of the nose. … I’ve always been partial to elegant women.”

    Adickes said Looking Forward is an attempt to “return elegance to the contemporary art scene.”

    “It’s in contrast to all of that other k-r-a-p,” he said. “It’s an attempt to elevate aesthetics where it was 15 or 20 years ago. Aesthetics went out the window and it’s looking to come home.”

    Well, a few things…I guess I am very lucky to love all forms of Music and all forms of Art–very wide world view this creates.

    And, I would say that the Houston Chronicle’s title for this article of “ ‘Elegance’ floats in a sea of downtown parking lots” may be unfortunately prophetic unless along with others, Brave Political Artists are able to influence enough people to get busy and reverse Global Warming. So, I would think that Adickes too would appreciate Political Art which would help his Art survive.

    I am not trying to be mean here, but just to note, that the nose though long enough seems to upturn more than straight-from-the-forehead Roman noses in Classical Art. But, that just means it is a modern interpretation of a classical form of beauty.

    And, I tried to google 1985 and 1990 aesthetics and am unsure if I know for sure which artists he may be referring too. If Adickes wouldn’t mind to mention, I would love to know.

    Finally, I think many would enjoy the broad range that Aesthetic Art can also reach. Wabi-Sabi–this very deep and profound aesthetic practiced by the Great Houston Artist Mari Omori.

    Wabi-Sabi is a big, enveloping aesthetic idea, philosophy and way of life in the history of Chinese and Japanese art which influenced a number of Western artists. It is very interesting to compare it with Modernism.

    Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

    By Leonard Koren

    Stone Bridge Press
    Berkeley, California
    PO Box 8202, Berkeley, CA 94707
    ISBN 1-880656-12-4

    A Provisional Definition

    Wabi-Sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of what we think of as traditional Japanese beauty. It occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West.” Wabi-Sabi can in its fullest expression be a way of life. At the very least, it is a particular type of beauty.

    The closest English word to Wabi-Sabi is probably “rustic.” Webster’s defines “rustic” as “simple, artless, or unsophisticated…[with] surfaces rough or irregular.” While “rustic” represents only a limited dimension of the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic, it is the initial impression many people have when they first see a Wabi-Sabi expression.

    Wabi-Sabi does share some characteristics with what we commonly call “primitive art,” that is, objects that are earthy, simple, unpretentious, and fashioned out of natural materials. Unlike primitive art, though, Wabi-Sabi almost never is used representationally or symbolically.

    Originally, the Japanese words “wabi” and “sabi” had quite different meanings. “Sabi” originally meant “chill,” “lean,” or “withered.”
    “Wabi” originally meant the misery of living alone in nature, away from society, and suggested a discouraged, dispirited, cheerless emotional state. Around the 14th century, the meanings of both words began to evolve in the direction of more positive aesthetic values. The self-imposed isolation and voluntary poverty of the hermit and ascetic came to be considered opportunities for spiritual richness. For the poetically inclined, this kind of life fostered an appreciation of the minor details of everyday life and insights into the beauty for the inconspicuous and overlooked aspects of nature. In turn, unprepossessing simplicity took on new meaning as the basis for a new, pure beauty.

    Over the intervening centuries the meanings of wabi and sabi have crossed over so much that today the line separating them is very blurry indeed. When Japanes today say “wabi” they also mean “sabi,” and vice-versa. Most often people simply say “wabi-sabi,” the convention adopted for this books. But if we were to consider wabi and sabi as separate entities, we could characterize their differences as follows:

    Wabi refers to
    • A way of life, a spiritual path
    • The inward, the subjective
    • A philosophical construct
    • Spatial events
    Sabi refers to
    • Material objects, art and literature
    • The outward, the objective
    • An aesthetic ideal
    • Temporal events

    A Comparison with Modernism

    To get a better sense of what Wabi-Sabi is—and isn’t—it might be helpful to compare and contrast it with modernism, the dominant aesthetic sensibility of mid- to late-20th-century international industrialized society. “Modernism” is another slippery term that cuts a wide swath across art and design history, attitudes, and philosophy. Here we will describe “middle” modernism, the kind of modernism embodied in most of the pieces of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Middle modernism includes most of the slick, minimalist appliances, machines, automobiles, and gadgets produced since the Second World War. It also includes concrete, steel, and glass box buildings of the sort that houses the Museum of Modern Art itself.

    • Both apply to all manner of manmade objects, spaces, and designs.
    • Both are strong reactions against the dominant, established sensibilities of their time. Modernism was a radical departure from 19th century classicism and eclecticism. Wabi- Sabi was a radical departure from the Chinese perfection and gorgeousness of the 16th-century and earlier.
    • Both eschew any decoration that is not integral to structure.
    • Both are abstract, nonrepresentational ideals of beauty
    • Both have readily identifiable surface characteristics. Modernism is seamless, polished, and smooth. Wabi-Sabi is earthy, imperfect, and variegated.

    A Brief History

    Pre-Rikyu. The initial inspirations for Wabi-Sabi metaphysical, spiritual, and moral principles come from ideas about simplicity, naturalness, and acceptance of reality found in Taoism and Chinese Zen Buddhism. The Wabi-Sabi state of mind and sense of materiality both derive from the atmosphere of desolation and melancholy and the expression of minimalism in 9th- and 10th-century Chinese poetry and monochromatic link painting. By the late 16th century, however, these separate elements of Wabi-Sabi had coalesced into an identifiably Japanese synthesis. Although Wabi-Sabi quickly permeated almost every aspect of sophisticated Japanese culture and taste, it reached its most comprehensive realization within the context of the tea ceremony.