A Sucker Born Every Minute

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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There is good news for all you fans of love.

Before you say, "Who isn't a fan of love?," let me tell you that I am talking here about a very specific form of love. No, it's not free love or tough love or young love or even true love, all of which, we would agree, have some redeeming value.

No, gentle fans of love, we are referring to the infamous LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana. If you've never seen the LOVE sculpture it stands 12 feet high and 12 feet wide and looks like this:

LO*

VE

(*Except the "O" is tilted jauntily at a 45 degree angle.)

Now you can talk about great works of art like the Mona Lisa with her enigmatic smile, but nothing quite portrays its subject as well as the love sculpture with its "O" tilted jauntily at a 45 degree angle.

In fact, the LOVE sculpture has been so effective that it has been reproduced ad infinitum on everything from postage stamps to posters. And now, dear friends of both love and art, you can see the LOVE sculpture up close and personal thanks to the good people of Scottsdale who are doing their very best to keep great art alive.

Yesterday, the statue was lowered by crane onto its final resting place a grassy area at the Scottsdale Civic Center. But you can breathe easy, because far from burying the LOVE sculpture, those in charge of public art for the tony suburb have purchased it for $250,000 in hopes that it will become "a gathering place for the community" "a destination."

Since it weighs 4,000 pounds, one would think it might be enough to just plop it down in the grass, but we are talking a work of art here and it would no more do to have that "O" tilted more or less than 45 degrees than it would to hang the Mona Lisa so her famous smile was crooked. So just to make sure this was all done right and proper, the city spent an extra $30,000 to have it "installed," using the services of an architect, a structural engineer, a lighting designer, and a landscape architect.

Of course, an appreciative public is already lining up to get this get married in front of the LOVE sculpture, a true indication of the level of appreciation Arizonans have for great art.

If you were feeling a little disenfranchised when the town of Payson took $75,000 of your hard-earned tax money and spent it advertising the Rim country, you can start counting your blessings any time now. Chief among them is that you don't live in Scottsdale, whose residents will be forever reminded of how their tax dollars are spent whenever they drive by the Scottsdale Civic Center.

In justifying the purchase and installation of the love sculpture, Margaret Bruning, associate curator of public art for Scottsdale, told The Arizona Republic, "This is an extraordinary opportunity to bring something this iconic to Scottsdale."

I couldn't agree more. In fact, I have some iconic sculptures I would like to pitch to the artsy people of Scottsdale, each one attractively priced at what a coincidence $250,000.

Signs like:

DU

MB

or

SUC

KERS

Heck I'll even throw in the installation at no additional charge.

But let's carry this a step further. Maybe the reason we aren't attracting tourists to the Rim country goes beyond the fires and the drought.

Maybe it's because we, too, need to bring something "iconic" to the Rim country. Of course ours would have to capture our cowboy heritage as expressed by a drive through town on the Beeline.

In the interest of rebuilding our tourism numbers, I would therefore like to propose the following sculptures to the town council:

EA

T!

or

OP

EN

And because we all know this is not Scottsdale, I am willing to let these low mileage beauties go for what a coincidence just $75,000 apiece. While installation is always included with my "iconic" sculptures, jauntily tilting a letter at a 45 degree angle is extra.

And if none of the above catches your fancy, I've got a natural bridge I'm willing to let go at the bargain basement price of will coincidences never end just $75,000.

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