Currents by David Landis
Located in US Bancorp Center, Ninth Street South and Nicollet Mall
In 1986 we were introduced to a character named David Freeman, a young boy who was abducted by a likable alien and whisked eight years into the future. The movie was Flight of the Navigator, and, while walking through the skyways of Minneapolis, one doesn’t typically expect to be reminded of a movie that came out a quarter of a century ago. But so it goes, in US Bancorp Center located at Ninth Street South and Nicollet Mall.
A portion of the movie has a lively road-trip quality about it, but instead of driving along the highway, they fly above it in a shiny, almond-shaped spaceship. And hanging from the ceiling at skyway level is what looks to be the remains of that spaceship had it met a violent end. David Landis‘ sculpture Currents is large — 12′ x 30′ x 10′ — and made of wavy, twisting strips of stainless steel. It’s so reflective that it has a chameleon-like effect from its surroundings, notably the black and white checkered floor.
Rather than being inspired by a movie spaceship, it’s perhaps more realistic to think that Landis was inspired by a stay in Minnesota during the month of March. From the plaque describing the piece,” The inspiration for this sculpture is taken from natural forms of movement (wind, waves, currents, etc.)…” We certainly experience the full charge of in-like-a-lion weather here, perhaps Landis experienced a day where the sun came and went while it rained, hailed, and snowed; the wind being the only constant variable.
Space Fountain (title and artist unknown)
Located in LaSalle Plaza, 800 LaSalle Avenue
Another installation that conjures visions of outer-space is located in LaSalle Plaza at 800 LaSalle Avenue. Looking like some sort of beacon from the ancient past to another galaxy, this cylindrical copper fountain requires more than a glance to appreciate fully.
The fountain is an impressive yet relaxing display, from the strange motherboard-like square shapes printed on the base of the cylindrical copper sculpture to the mirror and space-scape painting on the second-floor ceiling. Below is the fountain’s black collecting pool, which is more like a small infinity pool where the water looks as if it should be spilling over onto the floor.
Pity it is set off from the main drag in LaSalle’s corridor. But it does help with the feeling of having discovered a forgotten oasis and an ancient treasure. Unfortunately there is no plaque nearby telling who the artist is, or even an artist’s statement for this distinct piece.
Top Hat by Stan Sears
Located in LaSalle Plaza, 800 LaSalle Avenue
It’s fitting for LaSalle Plaza to have a sculptured entitled Top Hat hanging in the lobby. This building is in the heart of the Hennepin Theater District, and the lobby itself connects to the grand historic State Theater. Skyway level provides a great vantage point to view this piece, but it’s easy to change viewing perspectives by riding the nearby escalator, which is located almost directly below this piece.
Sculptor Stan Sears made Top Hat from wood and aluminum and was added to the lobby in 1991. Sears is currently an associate professor of art at Macalester College, where the fountainheads in the Hennepin County Government Center were cast.
Community by William Saltzman
Located in TCF Tower, 8th Street and 2nd Avenue
A few blocks away the TCF Tower hides in the shadow of the historic Foshay Tower. The TCF Tower was built in 1973 and is only about half as tall as the Foshay.
Inside, William Saltzman‘s copper art installation, Community, doesn’t have much to compete with in TCF Tower’s main floor lobby. In fact, the lobby itself is usually quite empty of people. This spacious area can be easy to miss on a busy day, as it’s competing with a particularly zig-zag shaped part of the skyway.
Not only was Saltzman a sculpture, he was also a painter and experienced in crafting stained glass windows. As a local artist, he crafted many works that are featured in nearby churches and hospitals, as well as across the country including Chicago, New York, and Nebraska.
Community is a large installation, taking up a large part of one of the walls in the 50 foot tall lobby. From the skyway, the piece looks like various sizes of acorns have grown onto the brick wall. Up close however, the display becomes even more three-dimensional; each piece within the whole sculpture has different depth and size.
According to a very small brass nameplate located on the wall under the piece, Community wasn’t installed until 1978, five years after the building itself was completed.