'Living room' sculpture gets OK in Healdsburg
Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.
A quirky “living room” sculpture that aims to elevate the mundane to art was approved by the Healdsburg City Council late Monday.
The latest contribution to public sculpture is a proposed living room scene, complete with sofa, rug, end table, lamp, telephone and painting.
“We are cutting edge around here,” City Councilman Gary Plass joked Tuesday of the council's nod to the piece commissioned by the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation.
The whimsical, unconventional living room sculpture was presented in a cartoonish conceptual drawing that raised a few eyebrows.
But council members were swayed by the track record of the foundation, which has placed more than 20 public sculptures and artistic benches in Healdsburg, and also created installations in Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Cloverdale.
“A few folks were concerned about it,” said Councilman Jim Wood, but he added that what the Voigt family foundation has done is great.
“If a piece caused a little more conversation, that's not a bad thing. It's not obscene, or profane in any way.”
Plass said he would have liked to have a better idea of what the finished piece will actually look like, but decided to give it the go-ahead along with the rest of his colleagues.
“We love the art they've put in place so far,” he said.
Voigt Family spokesman Ray Holley said the piece, which will be placed along the Foss Creek pathway and railroad tracks near West Grant Street, is intended to draw visitors and residents.
It could become a photo opportunity, he said, with “meet me at the sofa” becoming part of the vernacular.
Also referred to as a “ceramic couch bench,” the living room sculpture will be made of colorful mosaic tile, similar to a large leaping fish sculpture on the Prince Memorial Greenway in Santa Rosa.
“I recognize the drawing we created on short notice of the couch living room had a cartoonish quality,” Holley said. “The finished product will be very nice, a bit more refined looking.”
Voigt Foundation curator Debra Lehane said previously that the living room piece “honors the ordinary as extraordinary,” in the tradition of Andy Warhol or Claes Oldenburg.
The metal framework for the living room will be forged in the Voigt Family's metal shop. Teenagers who are part of the “ArtStart” program will help finish it with ceramic tile.
As part of the latest Voigt Family public art pieces, the City Council also approved a series of “medallions” by artist Rebecca Nase intended to suggest images of flowers and vines growing on a 120-foot-long, black, chain-link fence. The steel and rock pieces will appear to be attached to the fence and later enmeshed by green vines.
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