Posts Tagged ‘kate burke’

Four years ago, I blogged about some beautiful manhole covers is Japan. Now I learn that Minneapolis also has discovered the artistic possibilities of heavy, round metal that lots of people see as they cross the street.

Eric Grundhauser writes at Slate‘s Atlas Obscura blog, “Minneapolis has made its underfoot sewer covers a point of artistic pride, with designs that celebrate the area’s art, history, and wildlife.

“In the early 1980s, Minneapolis began asking artists to design iconic manhole covers for the city. … From David Atkinson’s whimsical summer grill design to Stuart D. Kippler’s introspective geography marker, each of the covers turned what was once a mundane city feature into a unique piece of art. …

“[Kate] Burke created sculpted images of regional icons like the Minnesota state fish (the walleye), the state fruit (Halverson apple), and the state bird (loon). The detailed pieces of steel each feature tableaux of their subject that make most municipal equipment look lazy by comparison.

“Some of the covers even feature small hidden details such as a worm in the state apple, or a pheasant erupting from the bronzed image of the state grain (wild rice).” More here.

I love that the Minnesotan sense of humor is part of the artistic effort. Reminds me of Massachusetts sculptor Mags Harries, who is still associated with the bronze banana peels, orange skins, and broken crates she embedded among the produce vendors in the Haymarket in 1976.

Photo: J Wynia/Creative Commons
Manhole cover in Minneapolis.

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I went out at lunch this week and took pictures of a public art project I had somehow overlooked: Boston Bricks. The bronze bricks are set among ordinary bricks in a narrow alley called Winthrop Lane, not far from Downtown Crossing and Macy’s. Although the styles look very different to me, the bricks are all by Kate Burke and Gregg Lefevre.

Here are eight of them. I include the artists’ credit brick, Boston in relation to the moon, a horseman who is either Paul Revere or George Washington, swans suitable for a Boston swan boat, tea bags suitable for a Boston tea party, directions to Provincetown, America’s first subway (1898), and the Great Molasses Flood.

If you are not from the area, that last one is no joke. The molasses flood was deadly. A book about it, The Dark Tide, is available at bookstores or online.

[8/14/13 new research showing that the type of molasses added to its destructiveness.]









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