The Fremocentrist.com Art Inventory

Fremont Public Art Inventory: At The Center – Part IV of an On-Going Series

by Kirby Lindsay, posted 23 March 2011

Fremont has art made from a multitude of mediums – that arrived here by extremely varied methods of acquisition.  The art nearest the center of the Center of the Universe illustrates this phenomenon admirably.

Mended Boulders

Mended Boulders, a piece by John Hoge, is typical of his work, on display at the Fremont Village Square on March 2011 Photo by K. Lindsay

Installed: 1995  Artist:  John Hoge During development of the Fremont Village building, Dan and Lillian Cawdry deliberately chose to include art in their construction, and chose to commission a piece by a local artist.  Mended Boulders is a typical Hoge, done with black granite rock.  “I designed it specifically for that space,” he recently recalled.  The fountain pool feature was created with the rest of the building construction, and, “I designed the sculpture to fit the pool,” Hoge explained, with three stones inside of it and another sitting outside as a bench.  Located: 3601 Fremont Avenue North, in the square that faces Fremont Ave.

Temporary Art Exhibit:  Lenin

This detail from the sculpture of Vladimir Lenin, created by Emil Venkov, photographed in October 2008. Photo by K. Lindsay

Installed in Fremont: 1995, and again in 1997 Artist: Emil Venkov  Few people realize that the statue of Vladimir Lenin stands on display in Fremont as the first in a rotating art exhibit series.  The statue is for sale – in 2008 the asking price was $300,000.

The statue came to Fremont to be sold, to cover the costs incurred by Lew Carpenter who brought the statue to the U.S. from Slovakia before his untimely death.  Originally, in 1995, the statue stood on the edge of a parking lot (now the site of the Red Door building.)  Record winter rains, in 1996/97, made the ground under the parking lot less stable, and structural engineers recommended removing the 8-ton bronze paperweight as a good first step towards preventing a slide.  So, Lenin became homeless until the owners, and manager, of a triangular bit of property could be convinced to host the statue, temporarily, until it sells.  Located: the intersection of 36th Street, Fremont Place North and Evanston Avenue North – at Red Triangle.

Fremont Guidepost

This close-up photograph of the 'original' Fremont Guidepost shows its worn and weathered condition in May 2004. Photo by John Cornicello

Installed: 1995 (and 2009)  Artist:  Maque daVis  This began as a joke – one of Fremont’s frequent art attacks – and transformed into an iconic symbol, and one much beloved.  After much wear and tear (the original post stood a little too close to passing trucks,) daVis recreated it and changed out the weathered and worn one with another just before the 2009 Solstice Parade.  The only noticeable changes between the two are the colors, the increased number of destination, and what those are.  No longer does the post point out the Trollyman Pub (gone since 2002), and instead it indicates the direction of Fremont Studios.  Located: At the Center of the Universe, the intersection of 35th Street North, Fremont Place North, and Fremont Avenue North.

Witch’s Boots

The witch's boots may be worn, but the whimsy lives on in this piece by John Hoge and Richard Beyer Photo by K. Lindsay, March 2011

Installed: 1979 (possibly)  Artists: Richard Beyer & John Hoge  When asked about this piece, Hoge laughed.  “Yes,” he admitted, “Richard and I did that purely on a whim.  A stone I had gotten for another project,” Hoge explained, “had a crack in it.”  He installed the stone, which serves as a natural bench, and Beyer contributed the boots which Hoge believes had been discarded in his studio.  The boots, tucked beneath an edge of the stone, made it easy to believe a powerful but wicked witch succumbed to spectacularly bad karma. “It really was a very impromptu thing,” Hoge admitted, “an afternoon joke.”

As one of the lesser known Fremont works, it remains one of my favorites – although it has deteriorated to resemble litter more than art.  Mike Peck inherited the piece when he bought the building approximately a year after installation.  When asked about possible restoration, he allowed, “I may do it at some point.”  Location:  On 35th Street, near the intersection with Fremont Place North – close to Essenza.

Love, or loathing, of an artwork appears to have no relationship with whether the piece was chosen for the ‘hood, or thrust upon us.  Accidental, purposeful, or inspired by momentary whim, Fremont welcomes art and pieces that fit well can become stuck in the vortex at the Center of the Universe.


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©2011 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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