OOSI Sculpture

Hart Crane Memorial

1989-95 / Gene Kangas / Cleveland

Hart Crane Memorial 4.jpg

The Hart Crane Memorial Sculpture is a unique contemporary monument and public park. This environmental 65-foot-long sculpture commemorates famed 20th century poet Hart Crane, who was born in Northeastern Ohio. Columbus Road Park is located along the Cuyahoga River, which flows directly into Lake Erie. It was redesigned specifically as a home for the Hart Crane Memorial Sculpture. A dominant theme of water and its sights and sounds occurs in Crane’s work. One of his most important poems is titled “The Bridge.” The multi-sectioned Memorial features a large arch or bridge accentuated with selected poetic phrases from Crane’s poetry that refer to water. His words touch on the lives and deaths of those who sailed the Great Lakes. A silhouette of the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald commemorates those lost at sea. The sculpture was commissioned by the Mildred Andrews Fund.

This sculpture was originally intended to be installed in Brooklyn under the Brooklyn Bridge, a famous subject of Crane's. It was a pet project of Peter Putnam’s. Peter sent Gene Kangas reference material, a movie and books, to acquaint him with Crane. Unfortunately, Peter Putnam (the commissioner) was killed in a tragic traffic accident before the artwork could be completed. Kangas reached out to Putnam's attorneys in order to finalize Peter’s project and permanently place the work in Cleveland.

Three massive curling blue pipes mimic the waves of Lake Erie, just a short distance to the North. These abstracted waves wind and undulate around a Corten steel arch and wedge, which feature the poetic phrases of Hart Crane. The massive arch firmly stands between looming turbulence and calm. It is a passageway connecting the past and future.

Gene Kangas explained details about the fabrication of the piece. The ship’s profile was painted with authentic colors provided by the company that built the Edmund Fitzgerald (the Titanic of the Great Lakes that sunk in 1975). The rocking boat-like feature was based on blue-prints provided by the company. Three colors of blue cover sections of tubing. Gene indicated that the Corten pieces, embellished with Crane's words, have a clear and direct association with Crane. However, the winding, wavy forms of the tubes were inspired by Crane's whimsical, winding way of writing. Kangas wanted to reflect the character of Crane’s poetry. Crane’s words are the focal point through which each viewer enters the memorial. River traffic passes the sculpture each day.

After 23 years, the sculpture was re-painted in 2018. Sherwin Williams graciously donated the best available commercial paint. The restoration was expertly done by volunteers of a Cleveland painter’s union. This was all accomplished with the direct consultation and supervision of the artist. Since the dedication in 1995, no signage was ever installed to inform visitors of the site’s name or purpose. There has been no maintenance budget to this point. Hopefully, this will soon change.

For more, go to: http://realneo.us/art-of-the-day-spitball-by-tony-smith/art-of-the-day-gene-kangas-tribute-to-hart-crane

Description provided by the artist, Gene Kangas

Location: Corner of Merwin and Columbus Streets

County

: Cuyahoga

Citation

: Gene Kangas, “Hart Crane Memorial,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory, accessed September 22, 2018, http://oosi.sculpturecenter.org/items/show/999.

Dublin Core

Title

Hart Crane Memorial

Description

The Hart Crane Memorial Sculpture is a unique contemporary monument and public park. This environmental 65-foot-long sculpture commemorates famed 20th century poet Hart Crane, who was born in Northeastern Ohio. Columbus Road Park is located along the Cuyahoga River, which flows directly into Lake Erie. It was redesigned specifically as a home for the Hart Crane Memorial Sculpture. A dominant theme of water and its sights and sounds occurs in Crane’s work. One of his most important poems is titled “The Bridge.” The multi-sectioned Memorial features a large arch or bridge accentuated with selected poetic phrases from Crane’s poetry that refer to water. His words touch on the lives and deaths of those who sailed the Great Lakes. A silhouette of the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald commemorates those lost at sea. The sculpture was commissioned by the Mildred Andrews Fund.

This sculpture was originally intended to be installed in Brooklyn under the Brooklyn Bridge, a famous subject of Crane's. It was a pet project of Peter Putnam’s. Peter sent Gene Kangas reference material, a movie and books, to acquaint him with Crane. Unfortunately, Peter Putnam (the commissioner) was killed in a tragic traffic accident before the artwork could be completed. Kangas reached out to Putnam's attorneys in order to finalize Peter’s project and permanently place the work in Cleveland.

Three massive curling blue pipes mimic the waves of Lake Erie, just a short distance to the North. These abstracted waves wind and undulate around a Corten steel arch and wedge, which feature the poetic phrases of Hart Crane. The massive arch firmly stands between looming turbulence and calm. It is a passageway connecting the past and future.

Gene Kangas explained details about the fabrication of the piece. The ship’s profile was painted with authentic colors provided by the company that built the Edmund Fitzgerald (the Titanic of the Great Lakes that sunk in 1975). The rocking boat-like feature was based on blue-prints provided by the company. Three colors of blue cover sections of tubing. Gene indicated that the Corten pieces, embellished with Crane's words, have a clear and direct association with Crane. However, the winding, wavy forms of the tubes were inspired by Crane's whimsical, winding way of writing. Kangas wanted to reflect the character of Crane’s poetry. Crane’s words are the focal point through which each viewer enters the memorial. River traffic passes the sculpture each day.

After 23 years, the sculpture was re-painted in 2018. Sherwin Williams graciously donated the best available commercial paint. The restoration was expertly done by volunteers of a Cleveland painter’s union. This was all accomplished with the direct consultation and supervision of the artist. Since the dedication in 1995, no signage was ever installed to inform visitors of the site’s name or purpose. There has been no maintenance budget to this point. Hopefully, this will soon change.

For more, go to: http://realneo.us/art-of-the-day-spitball-by-tony-smith/art-of-the-day-gene-kangas-tribute-to-hart-crane

Description provided by the artist, Gene Kangas

Creator

Date

1989-95

Subject

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Location City

Location County

Location Site

Corner of Merwin and Columbus Streets

Creation Date

10/28/1995