Adams Morgan Sculpture Selected – Bike Musician! UPDATED – Or Has It?


You may recall back in May Charles wrote a post titled, Which Weird Sculpture Captures Adams Morgan Best? Well, a reader tipped me off that a winner had been selected. After doing a bit of research and pleading I was able to confirm that a winner had indeed been selected. And it’s the Bike Musician by James Simon (rendering above).

I spoke with Kristen Barden of the Adams Morgan BID who was unable to confirm but said that the winning sculpture should be completed in 2010. Kristen did mention that she is a bit concerned that the sculpture may break up the recently created plaza which is currently being used for a Summer concert series.

Do you like the selection? Do you think it will break up the feel of the plaza?

UPDATE:  Just received the following email:

“I am with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the organization that is commissioning the artwork for Adams Morgan.  I wanted to let you know that a final decision has not been made for the Adams Morgan public art project.

Deirdre Thayer Ehlen, DC Creates Public Art Coordinator”

Well, we’ll stay tuned.

61 Comment

  • Well at least we’ll have something to puke our jumbo slice on now.

  • no offense to the artist, but…Jebus. god i hope this gets forgotten about and never installed. what is it, two stories high? chrissake

  • I liked it better when we erected statues of old white guys on bronze horses. Can’t we find another one of them?

  • thank friggin god it wasnt that god aweful adomo thing. I was pulling for the sunflowers but this was my second choice. and for the haters. look at the artists website. the rendering doesnt do his work justice.

  • fits the neighborhood. adams morgan is a neighborhood with a ton of bikes. a ton of dogs, and a ton of musicians. makes for a perfect fit.

  • The way it’s trying to be a little bit of everything stereotypical about the neighborhood is rather embarrassing. Might as well have made it a Salvadorean crackhead DJ college student with a jumbo slice in one hand and a jell-o shot in the other. It’s ridiculous.

  • I for one dont think it will break up the plaza but at that intersection there is the suntrust plaza accross the street and the triangle park by city bikes. and marie reed. and kalorama park. plenty of places for outdoor concerts in this hood

  • “fits the neighborhood. adams morgan is a neighborhood with a ton of bikes. a ton of dogs, and a ton of musicians. makes for a perfect fit”
    i don’t know about that. it seems your describing perhaps the desired self-image of some of the residents. you make it sound like mission beach or something. three chain pizza joints, a mcdonalds, and tons of cheesy themed bars/restaurants is definitely “cool for DC”, but …

    don’t get me wrong, i love having it in me backyard and there are great establishments that are unique and useful. and like all of you, i too feel ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ when family and friends visit from the provinces, but objectively speaking: adams morgan is not a dude on a bike strumming jack johnson.

  • Just what we need… more bikers on the sidewalk

  • I, for one, have never seen a single bike mariachi in Adams Morgan. Where does one find these?

  • Norfolk has its mermaids and Baltimore has its crabs. No modern metropolis can be considered respectable unless it demonstrates its artistic caliber by littering its streets with tasteless, poorly executed “sculptures.” How nice to see DC finally initiating this much-needed initiative. Thumbs up.

  • I think it’s great. I was pulling for the sunflowers, but I’m thrilled with this one.

  • How come “leaving it the way it is” wasn’t a fourth option? Do we have to fill every public space with either ads or “art”?

  • One man’s art is another man’s eyesore.

  • Lordy there’s a lot of folks who just want to bloody complain about everything.

  • there is no way to please everyone. People who arent lame would have been appauled if the adomo thing had been chosen. This way its the yuppies who are offended. Personally I was pulling for the sunflowers which was the only one done by a DC artist. But the one chosen is probably what most RESIDENTS of this neighborhood would have wanted installed over the adomo sculpture. and i speak as a resident. To the first commenter that noted he can puke a Jumbo slice on it. you CLEARLY are not from adams morgan. or you would not be eating a jumbo slice. so im just guessing most of the haters dont even live here and shouldnt have a say in the first place. And as someone else noted. go to the artists website. he has done a ton of these types of sculptures and they look a lot better than the rendering.

  • Absolutely spot on, Binklesworth.
    That seems to be the whole function of blogpost comment threads: Nature’s way of squeezing out the bitchfest in everyone.

    As for the sculpture choice, I’m completely ambivalent. As long as they install it QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY with a minimum of disruption, it can be whatever damned thing they want.

  • shiteous

  • im happy that there will be more art in the neighborhood. but i was hoping they would have selected the sunflower. i also hope no drunk kids from virginia ruin it.

  • maybe as a peace offering we could give virginia the Adamo Sculpture…?

  • Craptastic AND fuckrageous!

  • why don’t you all look at the artists website to get a better idea what it will really look like installed. I think its going to look pretty sweet:

    that one is in PA. where most of you haters are probably from im guessing. just sayin. you dont see me movin to PA and makin a stink about what kind of art gets installed.

  • I think they should have chosen a sculpture of a giant parking ticket.

  • Yep, looked at the site. Yep, still don’t like it. I understand that art is subjective, but the majority of people here seem to think it’s neither uber appealing nor in line with AM. Hope I’m wrong and it turns out great.

  • I love the people adding scare quotes to “art” and “sculptures”. They don’t know true art like you do!

  • @Noah: those weren’t “scare” quotes. They’re “consolation” quotes intended to console the reader by indicating that even though trashy art gets subsidized as a bizarre expression of civic pride, real beauty still exists elsewhere in the world.

  • Zorkster, I wouldn’t call it “trashy” as much as “bad,” “amateurish,” or “lame”. “Trashy” connotes a gravitas to this piece of bubblegum fluff that it doesn’t deserve. “Trashy” also suggests some guilty attraction or desire. The only desire this clump of dappled sophomoric detritus raises in me is the desire to see my tax dollars wasted more usefully – like in a bonfire.

  • Put me in the camp that likes it.

  • @Anonymous 11:00 am: that’s a good point.

  • anon 11:00am- Id say most would look at your anonymous blog comment as a sophomoric attempt at being an art critic. of. ironically. an established sculptor. lol. tally ho.

  • Quebecois said:
    June 24th, 2009 at 7:38 am
    I liked it better when we erected statues of old white guys on bronze horses. Can’t we find another one of them?

    Yes! Or how about a beautiful allegorical piece, the kind Augustus St. Gaudens would have sculpted? Why does every piece of public art have to be kitschy or interactive today? Yuck.

  • Well if a finalist hasnt been chosen then my vote is still for the sunflowers. this wont upset the yuppies as much as the bike does. and its the only one by an artist in DC. just please do not install that hideus orb statue. donate that one to a courthouse in manassass or something.

  • Anonymous @ 11:42, An “established sculptor” who creates tepid pablum about as inspired as the ad copy for a hemorrhoid cream.

    But who am I to say when the author of anonymous blog commentary like yourself, with his/her finger on the pulse of “establishment sculpture,” obviously knows better what type of regurgitated, soulless, lifeless, uninspired, cookie-cutter, and ironically anonymous “art” makes for the best pigeon toilet? I bow to your surfeit knowledge of “art” devoid of any shred of life, voice, or purpose.

  • How about a statue of Jim Graham?

  • To the dude who says CLEARLY that nobody who lives in Adams Morgan eats jumbo slice and would puke all over the lovely Bike Mariachi:you can claim all you want that the pizza-pukers all cab it back to Virginia after a night of drunkitude, but CLEARLYAdams Morgan has a lot of young people; many of them like to drink at Adams Morgans’ MANY BARS;some of those drinkers make the horrible mistake of ordering jumbo slice rather than getting a hot cindy and jasmine tea at Tryst;For the record, I do not ACTUALLY want anyone to vomit pizza on the Bike Mariachi, I would simply prefer that it never be built, paid for, or installed;It is a lot of fun to argue over a hideous statue and whether “locals” eat jumbo slice pizza on 18th Street.And yes, you have found me out. My wife and I just moved out of Adams Morgan in May to a lovely home in Sixteenth Street Heights, which has some of its very own ugly statues already:

  • 12:44- i here by dub you ignatius j. reilly

  • Sorry. The biker looks like a piece of visionary/folk art that developed elephantiasis and perhaps an excruciating skin problem.

    I went to art school (and practice/teach in the field), and I’ve picked up an affinity for wacky art projects that most people complain about not getting. I enjoy and defend the weird stuff. But I can’t defend poor execution or muddled thinking. I just don’t appreciate badly executed, superficial sculptures that offer all the meaning of a one-line joke about my neighborhood.

    Hoping for the sunflowers – local artist, good craft, whimsical rather than snarky, and actually uses its two-story height for good effect.

  • Anonymous @ 1:31, If only Adams Morgan had a smidgen of the class the Quarter does the residents would rise up and demand that this deformed oompa loompa on a bike be melted down and made into frying pans and also insist that the deranged ether addict that spewed forth this abomination be publically flogged for his crimes against art (and my eyes).

  • Let’s face it. This sculpture is just plain fugly. I’ve seen worse art, but not adorning a major intersection of a city. Yeesh

  • Looks like the arts commission has reconsidered after reading the comments in this post. Good work, PoP fans!

  • Ignatius: really glad you brought up the quarter.

    wait, I was going to rip on you for a bit, but…Bed Bath and Beyond and a giant parking lot adorned by white arches.

  • WoW, I am very impressed that 40 some comments would be able to get the Arts Commission to reconsider the artwork. This is true democracy at work. The community has spoken!

  • Go for the sunflowers!! Best choice by far. I could really see it fitting into the neighborhood.

    That troll bike thing is hideous. Please don’t do it.

  • solution. should the artist of the bike sculpture not win. I will allow him to build this in the front yard of my house. which is on a heavily traveled street. on the walking route of many an orange liner from the nearest subway. It would bring me great honor to offend them and all the lamo commenters present here. I may even foot the bill myself. Though after reading all your ungrateful comments im sure the artist would do so pro bono.

  • I claim full responsibility. I single-messagely saved Adams Morgan from a fate worse than a Dennys on the corner with one hyperbolic allusion tied behind my back. Worship me.

  • Anonymous @ 3:33, I’m not sure you can have an art installation placed in front of your halfway house without permission from your guardian and the court. Start taking your meds again.

  • @ Ignatius: I bet you a round of overpriced drinks at the overrated Adams Morgan bar of your choice that your anonymous correspondent is none other than our erstwhile established sculptor. Why else would anyone want to invest themselves in defending such dreck?

    You can also tell. that he must be a creative type. (that is, a heavy drug user). by his innovative use. of punctuation.

  • Ignatius – you really think this is a fate worse than a Denny’s? Now that’s some wack priorities for ya.

    I still like it, regardless of what y’all haters say. I just hope the artist uses stomach juice-resistant paint. I mean, puking on art in itself may be an art form, but I think it’d more likely be a competitive sport on weekend in AdMo.

  • Dear worthy Petworthians,

    Please accept my sincere apologies for exclusively applying the masculine pronoun when I described the established sculptor above. I did not mean to imply that a woman could not also be, as someone here put it, a “deranged ether addict” whose art is equivalent to a “regurgitated, soulless, lifeless, uninspired, cookie-cutter… pigeon toilet.”

  • @ Binklesworth: having a robust negative opinion about a piece of art does not make one a hater.

  • Zorky, I certainly hope it’s not the artist. How embarrassing would it be to have your giant installation of glopy pointallistic dung derailed by some offhand remarks by bored bureaucrats on their lunch break? And then be reduced to feebly tumbling out an incoherent defense through the throbbing PCP haze only to ultimately reveal you are certifiably retarded as well as being an untalented and undeserving hack? I’m guessing that would be sad.

  • Binkles,

    I think a person being confronted by this mass of putrid anti-art should get reparations.

    I only wish I could un-see the picture above and go back to that happy place where I was before my eyes started searing with pain.

    If you were to release one million monkeys into a sculpture studio with one million hammers and one million amyl nitrate poppers the results would look like the Sistine Chapel compared to this heinous carbuncle.

    Dennys is nothing compared with the pure asinine evil of this kindergarten rendering of hell on a bike.

    To answer your question, yes.

  • @Ignatius: the beauty of being a self-appointed Artistic Genius is that the massive amount of self-delusion required to hide your own ineptitude from yourself also functions as a means to protect you from contrary or negative opinions, which you can then blame on haters and complainers. I imagine that the PCP also has a salutary effect in this regard.

  • ignatius. the mark of a true comic is knowing when to call it quits. someting you should have done 17 comments ago.

  • I think its pretty obvious that Ignatius and lordzork are the same person. that person being the artist behind the adamor circle sculpture!

  • Anonymous @ 4:36, I didn’t know this was an audition, fancy pants. Otherwise I would have brought out my “A” observational material on the link between fetal alcohol syndrome and future inability to capitalize properly.

    Oh, and sorry about you losing the commission.

  • Anonymous @ 4:43, How very zen. We really are =all= just the same person. So I hope you won’t mind if I borrow your car.

  • Anonymous @ 4:43: I was only half kidding when I accused you of being the perpetrator of this planned abortion of the visual arts, but it looks like I’m right after all. In which case, I urge you to take note that you can still make a positive contribution to the arts by ceasing to practice them in favor of obtaining gainful employment more in fitting with your productive capacities. For instance, I’m sure that there are a number of places on 18th St that might need a line cook. Do look into it.

  • My god. It’s horrible. They are all horrible. Please don’t do this! It’s an affront to art, civic design, and all good things DC is trying to become. ‘World class’ it ain’t.

  • Ok, not done yet :).

    What Adams Morgan does need is better quality public space. Giving the turn lanes at 18th/Columbia and Calvert/Lanier to pedestrians was great, love it. Having a summer concert series in the space in question, great idea. Stand in that area and squint a bit and you can see a quality urban landscape taking shape. Some well-designed and well-placed street furniture and amenities (like some kind of screening from traffic) to flesh it out would seal the deal.

    An oversized, kitschy, amateurish, plain ugly sculpture ruining this promising start? Just tragic and boneheaded, really. Start over and do better, please. Please?

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