Here’s a link to fantastic article, titled Moving Beyond the Bronze Age, about public art in today’s Boston Globe. The author, art critic Sebastian Smee, describes the bulk of Boston’s public art as rather monochromatic and risk-averse. The public art is one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about living in Boston – it seems you can’t walk two blocks in any direction without running across a sculpture or mural or mosaic. That said, I see his point. Continue reading What makes a city’s public art any good?
This piece is called “Life Force II” by David Bakalar. It was made in 1989 and it sits outside the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. David Bakalar himself is a pretty interesting guy. His permanent outdoor sculptures are in cities around the country. His background is in physics; he earned a B.S. and an M.S. in physics from Harvard in the late 40’s and a Sc. D. in physical metallurgy from M.I.T. in 1951. After he completed his education, he ran a tech company (Transitron Electronic) making transistors for over 30 years. Alas, Transitron folded in 1986, when it was unable to keep up with the advances in semiconductor technology which, for a transistor company, wasn’t cool.
Bakalar actually has 7 sculptures titled with some version of “life force” scattered around the country at various universities and institutions. It makes some sense that he would find the theme so alluring given that the artist spent a life and career on the cutting edge of innovation only to be undone by a new innovation in the field.
Bakalar didn’t begin his career as a sculptor until after Transitron folded. I guess running a tech company requires a bit of one’s attention. Either way, I like this sculpture. So here’s a toast to maintaining a vibrant life force by allowing each end to prompt a new and beautiful beginning.