Well, new to me anyway, and seen while out walking, though I suppose, by definition, a Thomasson is never brand new, since it’s always a relic or an abandoned and repurposed architectural feature that can subsequently be perceived, however ironically, as a piece of art. That’s my own definition by the way: there may well be better ones out there.
Let’s start with a couple of empty pedestals or plinths – the one above is in the shadow of the Barbican Center in London, which is to say it’s also very close to the old city wall. I’m intrigued by the dense black coating up at the top of the molding. Is that industrial pollution? Did the whole thing used to be that color? It doesn’t look like anybody cleaned it – they’d surely have done a better job - so has the grime just fallen away? These are not entirely rhetorical questions. And presumably it once had a statue on top of it, I wonder of who or what.
The one above, less ornate, chunkier, cleaner, is to be found just outside the Inner Ring in Vienna, a city where the most incredible bits of statuary are everywhere, but this pedestal would be completely overwhelmed by any of the “typical” Viennese statues you see. And looking at that rather smooth top, I tend to think it maybe never had anything on it at all, and it’s probably just waiting for some artist to use it and give it life.
An artist like Eduardo Paolozzi perhaps, dead now, so not him specifically, though he’d definitely have done a good job. But I was thinking of him because not so long ago I went to an exhibition of his work at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and I looked out of one of the windows adjacent to the staircase and saw this:
I guess if you saw it elsewhere you might think of it as just another bricked up window, but the combination of Paolozzi, the Thomason mindset, and the presence of art at the Whitechapel makes you, or at any rate me, see things a bit differently.
Meanwhile in my own neighborhood in Hollywood I saw this:
Kind of looks like a niche, the kind of thing you might put a statue of the Virgin Mary in. (As Dorothy Parker may or may not have said: “Upon my honor/ I saw a Madonna/
/Standing in a niche …” The rest is just abuse and you can look it up for yourself if you need to). But a closer inspection of the niche reveals some electrical wires up at the top, and a broader view shows a shiny new electricity meter off to the left, so I’m guessing the niche was formerly the home of an old meter.
But I do think I'd put some kind of statuary in there if it were mine.
And finally in my own own street, this thing;
Eyes without a face I suppose, although there is kind of a face, or am I just indulging in pareidolia? In any case I can’t imagine what this was ever part of but I’m very glad it’s still there.