'thinmanlittlebird' at the Library

May 7, 2009
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In the print edition of IBJ this week, I offered my thoughts on Peter Shelton's "thinmanlittlebird," which now adorns the front of the Central Library. See story here.

Since that appeared, I've been stopped by many folks (including more than one librarian) with their thoughts on the new work. A few have also posted their opinions with the story.

So let's open up the discussion here. What do you think of the latest permanent downtown artwork that on one side stands and on the other seems to hover above the long-empty Library pedestals?

Your thoughts?
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  • I think its cool, futuristic, funky, and eye catching. It's different for Indianapolis, and not the same boring mundane architectural and designs that seems to have adorn this city for way too long.

    Lets get more creative unique in what we show off to our residents and visitors.
  • I think it's nice addition to push the envelope further on how to intergrate the classics with the contemporary.

    Installations like this and the recently launched public art series by the Arts Council are a very nice addition to our city. As posted in the Property Lines blog - Indy was named as a top city for recent graduates noting the number of young professionals living downtown. All of these components come together to illustrate how important art, architecture, green space design, etc. impact residential and economic development.
  • I like it okay, I guess. I mean, I'm all for public art, I'm all for quirky art. As a person who looks at the sculpture a lot (I live close to the library and go on average once a week), I think I just wish it was a little more library-ish.
  • Love it. Excellent counterpoint to the traditional bronze sculpture on the Mall and elsewhere in the city. Kudos to the library's art team for pushing it forward: it may not be popular now but I predict it will become a beloved landmark in the future.
  • I really like the thinman part...but I feel that the two pieces are too different. I would never have known they were supposed to be part of one composition, or even by the same artist for that matter. Overall, I think its great but I wish there was more continuity between the pieces.
  • I agree with Claire on the library-ish comment, but overall it's a nice addition the city's collection. I'm more concerned with the nightmares I'll be having about the Thin Man. That is one creepy dude!
  • Kudos to all who played a role in this project. These are the most exciting additions to Indy's civic art I have witnessed. Slightly quirky, invite my attention, fascinate me- and yet seem a perfect complement to the facade and the shimmering addition. Thank you for the vision!
  • I liked the thinman better at a lower elevation and without a fixed background. The proportions between the sculpture and the building portion/background where it is located do neither justice.
  • First thought was:

    Oh, they forgot to move the last of the construction equipment...

    It's growing on me, but the nonsymmetry just still doesn't sit well with me, I guess. Whatever it is, they should have put up two of them.
  • I think they would look great in a different location.
    I really don't think these look good on a classical library.
    There are many great cities that are making new classic sculptures for both new classic buildings and reconstructions (especially in Germany).
    I just don't see why we couldn't have placed some greek statues here.
    Two statues of Atlas would have been cool..
    I also think that breaking up the flow is pretty cool in a lot of downtown, but I think that the War memorial stretch has a sort of flow that should be preserved.
    There are many spaces in downtown where this sculptures are (Mass ave, White River state park, etc) but I think at this location, it is just totally wrong.
    At the very least, they could have placed two matching statues.
    To me, nothing says futuristic like a city putting up different kinds of art and preserving its history.
  • I drive by every day and wonder if there is a donut on the library or if this is yet another tire tribute to the racing city? Apparently I should search harder for this little bird.
  • Libraryish....so define that. You want a sculpture of some books? How bout of Dewey paying homage to the Decimal System. Maybe a 30 foot statue of a librarian with her glasses dangling off a chain? I don't think Libraries have a visual image.....You want libraryish atmosphere, walk up the steps and step inside.
  • I question the positioning of these sculptures. It started with the addition which in the original renderings showed black glass which formed a nice backdrop for the excellent architecture of the original building. The green glass reminds me of my Lego building set. Then with the faux-gothic arches in the atrium adding a third element which is visibile from the Mall things got really confusing. The new works which would have been interesting on the grounds look odd attached to the original building. It's as if we are now afraid of the beauty of the original. The sculptures seem impermanent and inappropriate sited on the pedastels.
    ... And Mike.. stop being snippy. I understood the sentiment.

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