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Pushing Public Art, Cummer Museum Hosts Pop-Up Sculpture On Lawn

Visitors to Jacksonville's Cummer Museum of Art may notice a new installation on the front lawn.  The pop-up public art piece is the creation of a Riverside artist who has plans for more.

The tall, aluminum sculpture comes from the studio of Dolf James, about a mile from the museum. The studio is spray-painted on the outside and filled with towering metal scraps on the inside.

James says he works here seven days a week. His pieces are all abstract, silver geometric shapes formed into sculptures. He says the piece in front of the Cummer Museum, called "Equal Point," may look familiar to residents of Riverside.

"A lot of people have seen one on St. Johns Avenue. It is in someone's front yard, and it has been there for about a year," James said. "I get a lot of comments on that, and it is similar, but it is not the same one. This one is actually much larger than the other one."

James says he started his metal series by playing with small identical figures, and he'd put them together in different configurations. As he points to metal trapezoid, one of the recurring shapes in his work, he says he thinks of them as "bits."

"Let's put it this way: Each one is an individual thought, or a bit of information. And it is interesting how many different concepts or ideas or thoughts you can come up with, with those same identical bits rearranged in a different configuration," he said. 

He picks up a tiny, handheld version of a larger sculpture he's building. He says he works off of these rather than drawings.

"Oh, I couldn't draw that," he laughs, adding, "Well, I mean you could draw it, but it would be not as meaningful, and you would have to draw it so many times from so many angles."

The piece at the Cummer is on display through June 1. The museum displayed it to push the arts community to display more public art in Jacksonville.

James says each one takes a couple months to finish. But he hopes to place more of them around town.

"Well, hopefully," he said. "There are some plans for some others, yes."

James wants to keep these plans a secret for now, but he says his next location, appearing in May, will surprise everyone.