Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homage to the Hohokam by Bob Haozous

Saw this Phoenix Public Art while riding along 24th Street, around the western border of the Sky Harbor Int'l Airport. It's a nice wide street, plenty friendly to bikes, north of an entrance to a path along the Salt River that I didn't know was there--more about the path in a pleasant post for a Friday, perhaps.

The art combines symbols from the Hohokam, the ancient settlers of this area who built an extensive canal system, with jets. It's stuff like this you notice at the slower pace of a bike ride, where you can stop to look at something you are interested in, take some pictures, and think about the ancient ones as the jets blast overhead.

When I looked up this work, I also found that the nearby bus shelters were designed by an OSG favorite, Kevin Berry, and include gabion elements and more bird patterns, so I'll have to ride back to that area to check them out.

Gabion waste baskets. I love this city.

Bicycling around a major airport feels so counter-current, like swimming against the tide, since you are meant to get in, get on, and take off, not mosey around it on two wheels at a medium pace browsing public art. I'm definitely going back. Get up. Go ride.


  1. Wow, you sure can spot 'em. Why does it seem that Arizona has way more nice public Art than other places? Perhaps its just that you show it all...

  2. Yup, in AZ, you have airplanes as art. In TX, we have dead catfish heads stuck on fence poles. There's a difference in the approach...

  3. RANTWICK the cities in this area do have active public art programs that go a long way toward making the public spaces more appealing and human. I won't be able to compare what we have here with other places until I can go explore them on my bicycle, too. I didn't notice about 90% of what we have until I got out of my car and off the freeways, that's certain.

    Steve, fish heads on fence poles,it sounds like a regional thing.

  4. At first I though those things were kinda cool, but the more I looked a them, the more they bothered me.
    The aircraft converging on and sort of smothering the native symbols make me uncomfortable and sort of sad.
    Makes me think about what was in the sky before the airplanes and what was there before the runways.

  5. I think I had a good response to your comment limom, then I went over and looked at other works by Bob Haozous, and I have to say I don't know. There's a complex tension in those things, between what is and what was, I can see that. Also, the birds are larger. But very crowded by jets. Check out some other stuff, it's not exactly what you might expect:

  6. The artist statement is certainly provacative; not too sure of the message though.
    While the airport stuff bothers me, I have to say that I like it.
    It's an image to contemplate.


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