Des Moines Travel Blog› entry 35 of 53 › view all entries
I spent a few hours walking around Des Moines, IA. unfortunately it was blazing hot and every cafe I wanted to go to was oddly closed - possibly due to the sparsely populated italian festival over the river..
It was my determination to find something veggie friendly to eat that led to my "discovery" of the John and Mary Pappajohns Sculpture Park. The park is located on the Western side of the city and is part of the Des Moines Art Center. The art center is located further down Grand Ave toward the center of town.
The park almost appears to be a large playground for the creative adult.. Sadly none of the work was truly interactive with the exception of a piece that was also a seating area and the large human form created by welding steel alphabet letters together.
There were plenty of pieces from some very well known sculptors such as Debora Butterfield (horses), Louise Bourgeois, Keith Haring, Joel Shapiro, And Sol LeWitt.
My favorite piece was the Alphabet man or actually "Nomade" by Juame Plensa. The piece was brilliant!! His work explores the concept of communication between individuals, groups and communities. Standing in front and later inside the piece looking up, I can relate this feeling of jumble of letters or symbols stirring within the mind. The piece, for me, was that moment before thought was fully formed into something coherent. The anonymity of the figure and crouching almost childlike pose spoke, again to me, the lack of identity one has when one does not speak up or share.
Another Piece that I really enjoyed were the 'Moonrises' by Swiss Artist Ugo Rondinone. They are a part of a series that depicted faces with exaggerated expressions or emotions. The pieces resembled children's artwork mostly through the texture of the material that was meant to convey clay, I'm guessing. They had that appearance of being made in the Art room. Rondinone intention was to pay homage to the moon, hence the titles including months, to a time with humans relied on it for spiritual and a sense of time passed.. Looking at them I would never had thought the moon. My connection was to the simplicity of emotion depicted and the interaction between the two heads.
It was fantastic to see that Des Moines has a wonderful space to share larger than life sculptures with the public. In my opinion, Artwork on display throughout a city speaks loudly about the community. It communicates unity, growth of culture and a healthy sense of community pride.