Sculptor Jaume Plensa spoke on Friday evening at MassArt through the Cronin Lecture Series sponsored by the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. It was a great lecture, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening and seeing such an amazing body of public artwork.
Plensa highlighted his public artwork, and it appears he has delivered and installed up to twenty-five enormous permanent sculptures in the last four years. I like his work and understand why others do as well. They are serene and contemplative figures, larger than life and brightly lit. They are easy to understand and be around. The pieces are repetitive, with minor changes here and there. With so much repetition of form, I have to wonder if Plensa is delivering a product? Akin to Robert Indiana’s LOVE pieces. This is certainly a public art business model that is working! I would like to see more process imagery, such as drawings, early works, or small scale models, to really understand how finish pieces came into being.
My favorite part was when Plensa recalled speaking at The Des Moines Art Center during a dedication, when someone posed the question, ” Your work really attracts people to be close to the work, why is there a sign that says Please do not touch?” Plensa replied, “Oh, I agree the museum just missed the rest, Please do not touch, just caress.”