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Plensa, ALEXANDRA, alabaster, Des Moines: Best of 2011

Has 3000 pounds of alabaster ever been mistaken for gossamer?  Ever, anywhere?  In Des Moines, Iowa, in the final month of 2011, it might just happen. The vision was made manifest by Jaume Plensa, and here’s one man’s rough video, which I couldn’t get to stand upright:

Plensa calls the piece Alexandra. The artist is Catalan, born in Barcelona in 1955, and other memorable work of his broods over the campus of MIT, and elsewhere. Des Moines in fact has a second Plensa, Nomade, rather well-known, a peaceable giant made of letters and crowning a downtown park:

Papajohn Sculpture park, downtown Des Moines.
The Papajohn family endowed this park, and they also own Alexandra. According to the Art Center staff, this young stone ghost will haunt us only briefly, perhaps six months, while the family builds a suitable platform for her in their New York home. The girl’s evanescent, in other words, as well as preternaturally delicate.
Still, the Papajohns have been generous before. I can’t help but hope they make some arrangement that allows this Alexandra back our way again. Would a few months every year be too much to ask from such an Ariel? Seen one way, she’s a willowy thing of barely two dimensions; seen another, she’s a ponderous block of three. Surely she can manage more than one abode.
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John Domini is the author of Bedlam, Highway Trade, Talking Heads: 77, Earthquake I.D., A Tomb on the Periphery, The Sea-God's Herb, Movieola!, and The Color Inside a Melon. Domini has won awards in all genres, publishing fiction in The Paris Review, Threepenny Review, and elsewhere; and journalism and criticism in The New York Times, Bookforum, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere (including Italian journals). He live in Des Moines, Iowa.

4 thoughts on “Plensa, ALEXANDRA, alabaster, Des Moines: Best of 2011

  1. John, thanks. The guy has given our landscapes some uplift, hasn’t he?
    Also, I’d be interested to know if that video works, if it conveys a decent sense of the piece, despite its uncorrectable sideways-ness.

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