Wednesday, April 21, 2004

"Brickhead #3" - Massachusetts Avenue - April 21, 2004 - 2 stars


Outside of Elements restaurant in the Davlan building at the corner of Alabama and Massachusetts sits "Brickhead #3," a large ceramic sculpture by Indiana native James Tyler. It's a colossal head, sculpted and sliced apart into many hundred brick pieces only to be reassembled. The symmetrical facial features, swollen lips and sanguine expression remotely recall a Fourth Dynasty Egyptian look and some may say that's a stretch. Is there supposed to be an ancient context here of keeping the head away from the body after death? This big terra cotta-colored head, neckless and bodiless, does compliment the brick facade of the Davlan building and the grassy courtyard where it resides. Of better quality and more interesting than most of the publicly displayed sculptural works along the avenue, it still lags. Funded by the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission, "Brickhead #3" feels a bit more like a gimmick than a sculpture. Sounds are supposed to emit from the head as people wander by, only, unfortunately, it was difficult to decipher if this feature was working. "Brickhead #3" is missing some of the fluidity and detail found in other works by Tyler, making this piece appear to be a second-best effort. Through Sept. 30, 2004; 317-634-3114. -Mary Lee Pappas

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