Arts & Culture - Staff Picks
Published: July 18, 2012
Best public art that doubles as a weapon
"Symphony," 1989, by Paul Marco
Mennello Museum of American Art
900 East Princeton Street
If you've ever thought of an "ice knife" as the perfect murder weapon (it melts! No fingerprints!), then here's a treat for your sick little mind: a public art piece so close to the ground and so incredibly pointy that thoughts of pushing a frenemy onto it are unavoidable. The work is Paul Marco's 1989 sculpture "Symphony," and it's near an intersection of two busy sidewalks in the outdoor sculpture garden of the Mennello Museum of American Art. Visitors who can contain their murderous rage long enough to gaze upon its five protruding tips will notice its resemblance to a ninja throwing star. The sculpture, made of roughly welded steel, earns bonus points for being painted red … all the better for hiding bloodstains.
Best Revival of Live Storytelling
There Will Be Words
Second Tuesday of each month
625 E. Central Blvd.
If you ever wonder what the expressive people around you generally think in private, each second Tuesday of the month, four handpicked writers take to the makeshift stage at Thornton Park's Urban ReThink to read you 10 minutes of their literate intimates, stories that are compiled for the event in cute little chapter books. An outgrowth of the burgeoning Burrow Press imprint, and hosted by writer and poet J. Bradley, There Will Be Words doesn't take itself too seriously – it once allowed Orlando Weekly's own Billy Manes to make an ass of himself with some college scribblings about anger – but it is just serious enough to allow you to feel like something smart can happen (in that soft-spoken NPR way) in Orlando. You just have to look for it.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Rollins College, 1001 Holt Ave., Winter Park
As part of their fall 2011 season, CFAM presented an intriguing little exhibition that comprised much more than the sum of its parts. A cursory glance at the hallway display would reveal only a small bronze statue of a Japanese boy and a vitrine full of old letters and newspaper clippings, telling the story of how the bronze figure was donated to the college by an alum after World War II and later repatriated to Okinawa, from whence it came. In fact, Contested Object took on major issues of cultural dominion, the meaning of ownership and the changing tides of acceptable racism with bravery and unflinching self-examination. Kudos to Rollins anthropology student Cory Baden and art history professor Susan Libby for their rigorous research, to college president emerita Rita Bornstein for being willing to consider that the college may have done "wrong" in the past, and to curator Jonathan Walz and his staff for always nudging CFAM's offerings in challenging and modern directions.