Arts & Culture

Best Bizarre Statues Or Public Art In Tampa Bay

September 30, 2012 6:00 AM

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Tampa is home to some pretty bizarre artwork. Have you ever wondered where the giant red dinosaur came from? Or maybe that spherical structure with pliers springing out of it has had you thinking. Whatever the reason, this unique art was created by someone for a reason. Visit these perplexing structures around town to get your fill of the abstract.

“Solar Rotary” by Nancy Holt
University of South Florida Campus
3821 USF Holly Drive
Tampa, FL 33620
(813) 974-4133
www.usf.edu

This aluminum sculpture certainly has an interesting design. Eight tendrils extend out from a central ring and trickle down to the ground. But the “Solar Rotary” is more than just a sculpture — it also contains a history lesson. According to the website, at certain times of the year, the sculpture “casts its circle of light around plaques placed in the ground plane of the plaza that mark historic events for the State of Florida and the city of Tampa.” During the summer solstice, a large ring of sun shines on the central circular seat. In the center of this ring is a meteorite said to be 4.5 billion years old that was found in Florida. Through the “Solar Rotary,” admirers are connected to the earliest days of the Earth and some of the most important parts of Florida’s history.

recyclosaurus sarah dees Best Bizarre Statues Or Public Art In Tampa Bay

(Credit: Sarah Dees/ http://www.mosi.org)

“Recyclosaurus” by Terry Klaaren
Museum of Science and Industry
4801 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL  33617
(813) 987-6000
www.mosi.org/rrex

The “Recyclosaurus” has been an iconic Tampa landmark since 1993. Built by Terry Klaaren for the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Recyclosaurus is 25 feet tall and 40 feet long. His wire mesh “skin” is filled with cans, bottles and other recyclables that are visible from the street. At night, his eyes glow and glare at passing traffic. “Recyclosaurus” may not win any beauty contests, but this earth-friendly dino is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Tampa.

Related: Top Public Art Exhibits Around Tampa

“Airstream Ranch” by Frank Bates
4656 Mcintosh Road
Dover, FL 33527
(813) 659-0008
www.batesrv.com/airstreamranch

Countless people have driven past these half-buried Airstream trailers and thought, “Huh?” The design of these seven and a half trailers were modeled after the Cadillac Ranch in Texas, right down to the slope of the trailers which matches that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The artist’s neighbors have complained that it’s an eyesore and Hillsborough County had even fined Bates $7,800 for code violations — but after thousands of people signed a petition to save “Airstream Ranch,” the fines were forgiven. “Airstream Ranch” is here to stay.

“Great Ball of Pliers” by John Rogers
Corner of E. 26th Ave. and 40th St.
www.tampagov.net

The “Great Ball of Pliers” may look strange, but this two-year project is more than meets the eye. When John Rogers created this piece, he intended for it to convey the “interconnection between mechanical infrastructures that create the fabric of our society.” The artist stated, “While exploring these ideas, it occurred to me that the geodesic form is a perfect symbol to represent these interconnections (by connecting three different size triangles the sphere is born). I felt that using pliers as the triangle hubs was a good way to represent the hand of man. Pliers are, after all, a universal symbol of assembly and construction.” The inside layer of the sphere also supports triangular-shaped pieces of glass which are arranged in a circular pattern and reflect moving colors, creating different views for passersby.

Related: Best Places For Glass Art In Tampa Bay

“Wave” by Mary Ann Unger
Bayshore Boulevard median just north of Bay to Bay Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33629
www.tampagov.net

This huge steel sculpture might remind you of a massive white slinky. At 10 feet tall and 15 feet long, it’s hard to miss. As its name suggests, this structure represents “the motion of a wave breaking onto the shore.” It was also created so that the open arch of the wave evokes the form of a shell or the ribs of a boat’s hull.

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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