This may well be just a telegraph pole cluttered with old staples and nails, but what a work of art! This accidental sculpture in upcountry Maui—the splintery wood, those rusty staples and bent nails, and the yellow reflector that has seen better days—would, I’m sure, have a story to tell in the notices, no longer attached, of community meetings, lost dogs, items for sale, local events and who’s been playing at the bar up the road.
Here’s another detail of the Catherine Hill Bay jetty barrier. It’s pretty intimidating for anyone trying to climb over it, but I love the sculptural aesthetic: the shapes formed by the strands of wound barbed wire, the shadows of those vicious teeth along the top of the gate, the dramatic blue and tones of steely grey, the stark brutality of it all.
If I had to come up with a list of my top ten favourite artists, Alexander Calder would be on it. As long as I can remember I have loved his mobiles and wire figures, but his monumental stationary sculptures—stabiles—are equally compelling. I don’t often find myself at the top end of George Street, but whenever I am there, I stop for a moment at Crossed shears, the Calder stabile that stands in the forecourt of Australia Square. I am also reminded of a time when I was very young, barely a teenager. I picked up a copy of Time magazine and read something that still makes me giggle. It was a story about a punning game that proliferated in the Manhattan art world: pick an artist’s name, then make up the question for which it is the answer. My favourite: Why did the chicken cross the road? Alexander Calder.