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Coordinates: 44°58′12.9″N 93°17′20.7″W / 44.970250°N 93.289083°W / 44.970250; -93.289083

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Spoonbridge and Cherry
A large gray spoon straddles a shallow pond. On the tip of the spoon is a stylized red cherry with a black stem. The sculpture is surrounded by lawn and in the background, coniferous trees, behind which several skyscrapers stand. The sky is blue with several clouds.
Spoonbridge and Cherry in 2008
Artist Claes Oldenburg, Coosje van Bruggen
Year 1988 (1988)
Medium Stainless steel and aluminum sculpture
Dimensions 9 m × 4.1 m × 15.7 m (30 ft × 13 ft × 52 ft)
Location Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States


Spoonbridge and Cherry is a sculptural fountain designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It was funded by a $500,000 donation from art collector Frederick R. Weisman and is permanently located in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The piece was completed and installed in 1988 for the Sculpture Garden's opening and consists of a large cherry resting atop a large spoon partially straddling a small pond.

History

In the mid-1980s, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, commissioned a piece of work from married couple Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, whose first artistic collaboration came in 1976. The work, which had its $500,000 budget donated by art collector Frederick R. Weisman, was to be placed in the new outdoor Minneapolis Sculpture Garden across Vineland Place from the Walker on land owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

An early concept for the sculpture was a Viking ship with a dragon figurehead set in a circular reflecting pool; a 1986 article in the Star Tribune describes this vision as having been "quickly abandoned". The iconography of the spoon had been present in Oldenburg's work for a number of years since he acquired a piece of kitsch depicting a spoon atop a mass of chocolate in 1962. The cherry was contributed by van Bruggen who found inspiration in the formality of the sculpture garden's design, in the Palace of Versailles, and in the dining etiquette of Louis XIV of France's court. Walker curator Siri Engberg said in 2013 that the bowl of the spoon was associated with "the prow of a Viking ship, a duck rising out of the water, various flora and fauna, [and] ice skating" for Oldenburg and van Bruggen. Martin Friedman, director of the Walker, said of the work that the artists did not intend to craft a "sculptural symbol of Minneapolis" but that he believed Spoonbridge and Cherry would "be a landmark and [would] give a lot of people pleasure".

The piece was fabricated between 1987 and 1988 at two shipyards, one in Boothbay, Maine, and the other in Bristol, Rhode Island, and finished in New Haven, Connecticut, at sculpture fabricator Lippincott, Inc. It was placed in the northern portion of the Sculpture Garden by two cranes on May 9, 1988. The Sculpture Garden held opening ceremonies September 9–11 of that year, with an official dedication on September 10 featuring a band of spoon players.

Spoonbridge and Cherry was entirely repainted in 1995. In 2012, the word "Kony" was spraypainted onto the sculpture's spoon, possibly as part of Invisible Children's Cover the Night campaign, requiring the sculpture to be scrubbed and repaired which Walker staff were able to complete within 48 hours.

Design

Spoonbridge and Cherry measures 30 by 52 by 13 feet (9 m × 15.7 m × 4.1 m) and straddles a small pond built in the shape of a linden tree seed, evoking the lindens in the surrounding park. The pond's shores were lined with irises and reeds. The sculpture is built from stainless steel and aluminum and coated with polyurethane enamel. The cherry portion of the piece weighs 1,199 pounds (544 kg) while the spoon portion weighs 5,800 pounds (2,630 kg).

The sculpture emits filtered water from both the tip and the base of the cherry's stem, the latter intended to keep the cherry gleaming in the light.

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