Thursday, November 22, 2012


"Tolerance" by Jaume Plensa, 2011.
Seven statues, each ten feet high, made of metal alphabet, seated along Buffalo Bayou.  Above, taken March 4, 2012 on a bicycle adventure.

Installed to coincide with the opening of the Rosemont bridge over Buffalo Bayou.  Seated in slabs selected by the artist in his home country.  The figures represent the seven continents and reflect the artist's belief that we are all similar.  Lit from within at night, they seem to float.

With some serious help from private donors, like Mica Mosbacher and The Aga Khan Foundation, the City of Houston commissioned these pieces.  For Mica Mosbacher, this was her passion project, sparked by an attack and rape of a gay Houston teen--he never overcame the horror of the hate crime and committed suicide a few years afterward.

Originally, the artist envisioned the statues descending the slope toward the bayou.

Why the placement changed, I don't know.  Maybe the legions of pet owners who use Dog Poop Hill (you know who you are and what you leave behind) were on City Council's mind.  Or maybe council members were afraid one good rain and the bayou would flood its banks, washing away some of the statues.

Jaume Plensa's best known work in the US  is a whimsical, grand, and highly interactive work in Chicago's Millennium Park, called the Crown Fountain.  It's a pair of 50-foot video displays, lighted from within with a face that occasionally purses its lips and sends a fountain of water on the crowd below.  Its faces are randomly generated from 2000 of the city's residents who were chosen for the $17 million project.

The banks of Buffalo Bayou have long been the site of Buffalo Bayou ArtPark and its changing installations. It's not a favorite of all, but Tolerance does set an inviting path along the refurbished park.  

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    Did you take the night time photo of the statues above? I would like to use it for a project, but, only, if I get permission to do so.