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73-Foot-Tall Red Grooms Sculpture in Danger of Removal from Miami Park

Red Grooms’ Homer in Marlins Park.

ROBIN HILL/COURTESY MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ART IN PUBLIC PLACES

As Major League Baseball trades continue in advance of the start of the season, Derek Jeter, the co-owner of the Miami Marlins, is looking to change more than just the team’s players. If he could have it his way, a 73-foot-tall, site-specific sculpture by Red Grooms in Marlins Park would be removed, the Associated Press reported today. But the work likely won’t be going anywhere, it seems. Michael Spring, director of the county’s department of cultural affairs, told the AP that there are no present plans to move the work and that “[the city is] not interested in trading public art.”

Grooms’s work, titled Homer, can’t be compared to other baseball-related sculptures, like the Mets apple at Citi Field in New York. When a Marlins player scores a home run, water spouts from Grooms’s multilayered fixture while fish fly around its colorful arches, flamingos flap their wings, and lights flash. (Jeter has described the work to the Associated Press as “big” and “unique,” but has largely withheld judgement otherwise.)

Like Marlins Park, the Grooms sculpture is owned by Miami-Dade County. It cost about $2.5 million to produce it in 2012 and was created through the county’s Art in Public Places program. Former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was a friend of Grooms, and he recommended that the artist make the public work that was required to finance the ballpark.

The catch to relocating Homer? If it’s moved without Grooms’s approval, the artist could disavow the work, stripping it of its value, according to a Miami Herald report. In an interview with the Miami Herald, Grooms said, “What I would like is for it to stay there. I wish it would just stay there and be hit in the bean with baseballs.”

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