Which Weird Sculpture Captures Adams-Morgan Best? (By Charles)


Charles was prolific this week!

The newly reformulated, traffic-calming, briefly Third World (repaving has begun) corner of 18th and Columbia/Adams Mill is soon to be graced with one of three large pieces of new sculpture and, possibly, and enhanced kiosk. Sadly, the survey is closed and our opinions mean nothing any more, but you can find more info about designs at:



All modern art has the potential to be silly, but even sillier is the claptrap artists put in their proposals:

“The sculpture’s composition, like the neighborhood, is diverse, creating a local and international feeling while embracing past and present neighborhood cultures.”

“…captures the heart and soul of the people of Adams Morgan by embracing the full diversity and rich history of Adams Morgan residents and architecture.”


“The “Adamor Circle” proposal emanates from one circle, a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. It is separated into many circles or hoops…. This work reflects the diverse and rich community history of Adams Morgan and can be used as a tool and a reminder to the community of the power that people posses to work together in concert as do the divergent elements of the sculpture…”

Guess they used the word “diversity” in the RFP. Call me a lightweight but I think they should just pick out a great piece of sculpture and worry about what it “captures” later on. I saw a sign in a gallery once that said “good art does not match your couch.” It might not “match” your neighborhood, either, but as long as it’s good…

So, which one are you rooting for? I hate to admit it, but I like the boring modern one most, perhaps because I, too have a center which is everywhere and a circumference which is nowhere. But the sunflowers are cool, too. I think the goofy bike will get old quick.

Ed. Note: GGW also took a look at these proposals. As for the sculptures, I hate to admit it but I kinda like the bike one!

42 Comment

  • The flowers and bikes will not age well.

  • Adamor Circle! Maybe it won’t fit because it’s classy, but it’s the nicest looking proposal. I like that it has some greenery surrounding it.

  • flowers or bike. the last looks like it should be outside of a bank

  • Flowers would be a landmark. the 3rd one looks like generic corporate office art. it could liven up the side walk of intelsat in van ness. but not for adams morgan. adams morgan is funky ans fun and the first two designs capture that

  • I would reject all three. If the aim is to capture the essence of Adams Morgan, the sculpture should be a giant bottle of booze.

  • out of curiosity. who was this survey open to? adams morgan residents? Im guessing that because the first two are indeed funky. that they will split the votes for people who would like something cool. and the winner will thusly be the bland 3rd option. which is better suited for somewhere along Dulles.

  • The survey was open to anyone who went to the DCCAH Web site and voted.

  • wow these are fugly. but at least they’ll give a little life to that dreary corner.

  • Adams Morgan- If the survey is now closed then when do we hear the winner? please tell me 3 did not win. I walk past this corner daily and if 3 won then I need to come up with a new route. as if the sculpture itself wasnt ugly enough they even surround it by tacky planters and benches. I am backing the sunflowers. its pretty and it looks like there is a bench lip around the flower pot to sit on. the bike is cool too but doesnt incorporate seating.

  • maybe meatloaf and brad pit will do us all a favor and blow up option three should it get built.

  • The final selection has to be approved by the D.C. Commission on Arts and the Humanities as well as the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts….According to the DCCAH Web site, the finalist will be announced in June and then the installation should be complete by late fall/early winter.

  • if option three wins it pretty much is a statement about the changing demographics in the neighborhood. from young funky artsy community to… I dont know. another woodley park? option three has no place among the funky murals and paint jobs of 18th st. options one and 2 clearly made an effort to put something forth FOR adams morgan. the 3rd option was likely conceived on its own and submitted for this spot for the hell of it.

  • I’m going w/ the flowers. The bike sculpture is a second. I’d say the 3rd is the one to be blown up by Meatloaf and Pitt.

  • 1 – looks like it was designed by a preschooler, and then photoshopped by a computer from the 80s.

    2 – Honey I Shrunk the Hipsters

    3 – Bland, but still the least fugly.

    Who came up with these finalists? I feel bad for whoever has to make this horrible, Sophie’s Choice decision.

  • I agree with Greg. Give me that “corporate” one, number 3. It’s much more pleasing to look at and won’t be instantly dated or just plain fugnasty like the others. By the way- while U Street gets cool new bars and restaurants, Adams Morgan gets…. a giant potted plant?!!

  • i see it like this. The First 2. are instant neighborhood attractions that would really define us in the way Monroe does for woodley park. the 3rd is just bland filler. Which I dont see the point of. If we arent going to make a statement with 1 or 2. lets not bother with 3 and plant a tree instead. Or just put a fountain there or something. but 3 is a waste of resources and space. My vote is for 2. I like the bike but the sunflowers have seating. The scale is grand and the design is not offensive. and it is functional.

  • 2b3s — how about a bar with famous DC residents seated on bar stools having a drink together instead? Drunk people can take pics of each other pretending to be the bartender serving them, and the random crazy people can talk to them for company — it would fill so many community needs…
    The existing options aren’t very good, can we have a do-over?

  • SG- I dont think there is any shortage of new or old bars and restaurants in Adams Morgan. And I am sure if Ustreet put it to a vote. they sure as F wouldnt pick number 3. If that kind of art pleases you there are a couple attractions I could point you to in Rosslyn.

  • yeah. anything but 3. Id rather something functional like what is going in columbia heights than a random ass airport sculpture.

  • Who came up with these finalists? Why, none other than the inept D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, who were most recently responsible for commissioning with our tax dollars, those hideous, universally-panned statues at Nationals Park!

  • All three are horrible…

  • James Simon (Bike Dude) is a very talented artist, but photoshops like a third grader (unfair to 3rd graders) I suggest that people look at his website (http://www.simonsculpture.com) and see his other works.

    Also if three is selected it is the death nail of Ward One, we already replaced Pixies, Little Shop of Flowers, DaDa and the last of the Latino electronics stores with a Bank and a FEDEX Kino’s…. PG County anyone?

  • I like the first one! It’s quirky, just like Adams Morgan itself. Go with #3, and you’re continuing the trend of replacing cool spots on 18th street with bland frat-tastic bars.

  • I vote for James Simon’s “Rat Party” sculpture: http://www.simonsculpture.com/html/rat_party.html

  • The flowers. And maybe when I walk by I’ll also look as tall and skinny, as the art depicts.

  • What Greg R said.

    Anon 10:41, I had to think a while what you meant by “Monroe” defining Woodley Park. Then I realized you were probably referring to the mural of Marilyn Monroe, which is the last thing to come to mind when thinking of Woodley Park.

    Please, can we discontinue the use of the word “funky” to describe a neighborhood, any neighborhood.

  • to the Greg R supporters. do you even live here? if so i guess its time to pack my bags, this hoods goin to shit. I dont mind if you move here from the burbs. but do me a favor and leave your taste in art whereever it is you came from. and the hipster hate? honestly. hipsters are harmless. hating them just puts a big sign over your head that reads “i have a ‘cool’ inferiority complex”

  • I dont think the point was that Woodley Park shares a world view or equates itself with Marilyn Monroe the person in any way.- but that the mural is the landmark image of the neighborhood. in the way the hellers mural would be the image associated most with Mount Pleasant. the Bike or Sunflowers would very quickly become iconic images for the neighborhood. version 3 would not. its boring and ugly. but clearly reading through this thread it does not insult the sensibilities of DC’s uncreative class. and because they obviously outnumber dc’s “hipsters” i think 3 probably won the vote. only time will tell…

  • No way that the Marilyn Monroe mural is the “landmark image” of Woodley Park. For tourists maybe, that’s about it.

  • what other landmark is there in woodley park? the zoo?

  • OK, you’re obviously not familiar with DC. The Metro, Wardman Park Marriott, Sherry’s, Manhattan Market, St. Thomas Church, Woodley Park Playground, Twin Oaks, Manhattan Market, Murphy’s, Open City Cafe, Lebanese Taverna, hell, even Chipotle, better define Woodley Park than the Marilyn freakin’ Monroe mural or the Zoo.

  • lol. funny thing you mention that. cause i was actually born and raised in woodley park. So i guess my opinion is biased as i wouldnt consider restaurants that showed up 3 years ago as more iconic to my home hood than the mural that watched me grow up. While woodley has a lot of great restaurants I wouldnt call them Iconic neighborhood images. certainly if they havent been here more than a decade. Nor would I a metro station. which is hardly unique to woodley park as theres a few others in the city. Sherrys IS great. made famous by the fact that it used to be located UNDER THE MURAL before chipotle took its place. And I have never heard of St Thomas Church but then im an athiest.

  • Born and raised in Woodley Park, but never heard of St. Thomas? It’s only been smack in the middle of Woodley Park for, oh, 100 years (literally).

    Only 3 of the dozen things I listed were restaurants, but whatever.

  • yup. born and raised atheist, right here in woodley. Just googled the St Thomas though. walked, ran, and rolled by it a million times but never knew its name. Ah. a landmark indeed.

  • To the Anon hating on people agreeing with me – a few things:

    1) What makes hipsters harmless and people who think Design #3 is OK the scum of the earth? Seems to me that hipsters tend to be the more judgmental and vitriolic ones when it comes to things being too “corporate” or “suburban” – besides, this sculpture would be right across from a McDonalds, a bank, AND a Starbucks, so while I’m not saying I love it – don’t act like it would be so out of place with its surroundings… And you would MOVE OUT of the city because a different “type” of person who has a different taste in art moved IN? But you (pretend to) love diversity! What gives?

    2) The original hipster comment, if you actually read it, isn’t hating on anyone but the actual designer and his/her SESAME PLACE Flowerpot aesthetic. My point was that it looks like it belongs in a children’s movie/amusement park. Besides how is that any more “creative” than the third design? An ACTUAL pot of sunflowers would look so much better than that atrocity.

    3) I don’t hate hipsters – they already hate themselves enough.

  • I truly believe number 3 rocks and think the other 2 suck ass. And I support Greg R.’s postings!

  • I vote for asking the first artist to submit another design idea (I like some of the other stuff he’s done) — how about a couple dancing? It would give a nod to the area’s nightlife, and look alot classier than the dude on a bike (option #1), who in my opinion looks slightly deranged and out of place on that particular corner.

  • Greg R- Thanks for firming up that you are in fact a tool bag.

  • How about a sculpture of a giant pizza slice? What could be more AM? Or better yet – a whole giant rubber pizza to play on like the one in the zoo! (Plus then everyone could argue endlessly about which pizza place to use as a model.)

  • I vote for DC_Chica’s idea of a couple dancing. thumbs up

  • Why do the sculpture’s have to be so big? It’s been awhile since I’ve been on that street corner but is there really enough room to put all that stuff? Seems like pedestrian traffic blockers to me.

    I like the sunflowers but do they have to be taller then the building’s? Personally I don’t like things towering over my head for fear they will fall over.

    Also, what is hip/funky/artsy about Adam’s Morgan? Maybe I’m missing something but I always just felt it was State College part 2.

  • My only hope is that whatever DCCAH installs there with their $200,000 is vandalism and graffiti proof. I would hate for them to continue to pump money into cleaning/repairing something year after year. Also all of these look ‘climbable’ and a lawsuit waiting to happen by the first kid to fall off it…

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