Day 27: There are a few places that recognize we can place art anywhere, even underfoot. Today is focused on Minnesota, tomorrow New York and more.
During my online travels I had learned about the special covers found downtown Minneapolis. They were commissions by the city, in both the 80s and the 90s as public art. Sadly, at this time all or most, are stacked in storage as the city is undergoing a huge renovation project of the Nicollet Mall. Crossing fingers all of them will be restored once the debris is swept away by fall of 2017. Never been to Minneapolis? Don't know the Nicollet Mall? Sure you do....it's where Mary Tyler Moore tossed her beret, or tam, as they say in Minnesota. There had been a MTM statue on the Mall, but it was removed for construction - but I just read she's no longer in storage and has been placed at the new Minneapolis Visitor Information Center so you can got get a selfie with her.
Andy Sturdevant, is a writer/author/columnist who has a terrific article (2013) about manhole-covers-as-art in MN. These are his photos below - first in the grid are two older standard issue Mpls covers, followed by some of the artist's interpretations of "entertainment". Created and installed in the 80s - only a handful of selections went into production, following submission of over 400. My favorite is "Your Precise Location..." by artist Stuart D. Klipper.
You can read the full piece HERE. He presents a great commentary on public art. Thank you Andy for allowing me to share your photos and your article about the Minneapolis covers.
Below are more from the first commission in the 80s. Artist credits can be seen HERE.
Another blogger, Will Crain, has scored photos of all the 1990s covers which were designed by a single artist, Kate Burke. I really appreciate that Will granted permission for me to share his findings as these designs are stunning.
You can see his post HERE. Thank you Will for these amazing photos of your finds.
From Kate Burke's site: In 1990, the City of Minneapolis commissioned artists to create artwork for Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis. I was commissioned to create 75 manhole covers to replace the covers over 13 city blocks. Thirty more covers for the Northern States Power Company on Nicollet Mall were eventually added. There are 11 different designs which commemorate the state designations and other icons of the state. Included are the the state flower, fish, tree, bird, grain, fruit- the Lady Slipper; the Walleye; Norway Pine; Loon; Wild Rice; Halverson Apples; the grains - Oats, Wheat, Corn, the Timberwolf, the Northern Pike. It is intended that there be discoveries like the worm with the apple or the pheasant in the corn field giving added interest over time. Each are cast iron measuring 26 inches in diameter although the Northern State Power Company covers are 29 inches.
Kate also has designed brick-sized bronze reliefs installed in the pavement of the narrow alley, Winthrop Lane, Boston. More art underfoot!
Bravo Kate! Your designs are so handsome and truly capture the many iconic scenes from the Minnesota.
This year a Minnesota native was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature and the media seems to think he doesn't care as he's been unreachable. I think it's because he already has THIS, a manhole cover designed for him, installed in Duluth, MN.
As a girl born and raised in Minnesota, I love the story of manhole covers as art. As I mentioned on Day 1, I was still in the Twin Cities in the 80s but I was always looking for Neenah covers. I had no idea what lay underfoot on particular streets in town. Looking forward to visiting there again once the artful covers have been restored. It sounds like the installation spans wider than just Nicollet Mall so perhaps you might get lucky when you're on your way to a Vikings game.
Have you been looking down more often on when you're on foot? I've been hearing a lot of that :)