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Sculpture to make waves in California

Wind Waves was trucked away in two pieces from Garry Point on Wednesday. - Martin van den Hemel photo
Wind Waves was trucked away in two pieces from Garry Point on Wednesday.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

Warmer climes will soon greet Garry Point Park’s most visible characteristic after crews dismantled the popular Vancouver Biennale sculpture Wednesday.

The bright red Olas de Viento (Wind Waves) was trucked away in two pieces following its temporary installation that began in the fall of 2009. It will now be restored and transported to Palm Desert, Calif. for exhibition “for the purposes of acquisition,” said biennale spokesperson Miriam Blume.

“The City of Palm Desert and various key business people in the area have long since been interested in the Vancouver Biennale and our artwork, and Wind Waves just presented a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “We are confident that it will be acquired during its exhibition there.”

The piece, created by Mexican artist Yvonne Domenge, is valued at $420,000 and had been offered to the City of Richmond for purchase, but civic politicians declined.

A date has yet to be set for installation south of the border.

“Obviously we want the snow birds to go see it and to take some pride that this is a result of a local arts organization that this has happened,” said Blume.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Biennale is asking city council for its blessing for Richmond to participate in the next public art exhibition, set for 2013-2015.

Proposed are seven temporary installations of sculpture and new media, along with one “land-based” project at Terra Nova Rural Park. According to a staff report, sites are to be decided on next month.

Locations with easy access for walking and cycle tours are being sought, and Blume said there’s continued interest in Steveston as one of the sites. The biennale is asking for a $200,000 commitment from the city, which would also provide staff time to the project.

Eight public art pieces were featured in Richmond as part of the last exhibition.

“The presence of these significant artworks dramatically raised awareness about the impact public art can have on the enjoyment of our public spaces,” said Eric Fiss, public art planner, in a report to council.

Most other sculptures exhibited in Richmond have been removed, including the controversial Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head.

That sculpture, which was installed at Elmbridge and Alderbridge ways for two years, is in storage and has yet to sell.

A replica of the Gao Brothers sculpture appeared earlier this month in Los Angeles at the Ace Museum.

Reached by e-mail, Zhen and Qiang Gao wouldn’t say much about their work that depicts two 20th century communist leaders.

“We are not interested in talking about the Miss Mao/Lenin sculpture,” they told The Review. “We don’t expect any reaction from its new location.”

Instead, the brothers noted their latest, and decidedly different work, The Utopia of Hugging for 20 Minutes, a piece of performance art staged in Rome one month ago for the opening of a Chinese contemporary art exhibition.

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