Thursday, June 30, 2011

Return To Newburyport : Dog Walker Reinstalled

Last week I reinstalled my Dog Walker sculpture in Newburyport, MA after having repaired it from the damage it suffered last Halloween (here is the previous post with images of the damage). In returning there, I was even more impressed with the amazing job the city has done in filling their community with public art. For such a small city, they have a tremendous amount of very good art for people to casually encounter. Between Somersby Landing, where this piece was originally installed, and the bike path they must have twenty sculptures.
As I mentioned in my previous post on this piece, it is no longer my art, but rather an unsolicited collaboration with vandals and, although I really don't appreciate unsolicited collaborations, there were some aspects of the vandals' work that I do think work better than the original piece. For example, I really like how they bent the rear wheels on the dogs so that now they look like they are wagging.
This one isn't as bent but it is still noticeable. I couldn't find another gear shifter for the eye and struggled a while with what to do with it. I haven't decided whether this part is better or not but it does give sense that the robot is winking, which may be good.
And, although I really didn't appreciate having to splice new wood into the body in order to secure the handlebars sufficiently, I like the look of the horizontal wood across the bottom of the splice. Also, though it isn't too obvious in the picture, the repair gave me the opportunity to turn the head just a little to the left to give it a more life-like appearance. The ear repair on the red dog may or may not be a result of the vandals. Apparently, there is a problematic issue of young children liking the piece so much they climb on top of the dogs and hold them by the ears. I secured this one better so hopefully it can be loved without being damaged.
While installing the piece we had quite a few people walk by and complement the work. It was good to see the bike trail is so well used -- on a week day morning with a steady rain we still saw about 15 people in 75 minutes, it must be packed on a nice weekend day. If you want to visit Dog Walker in person it is on the Clipper City Rail Trail between Washington and High Streets with the best entrance located on this Google Map.


  1. I love your serene and speculative attitude about this whole experience, Rob. It's easy to be pissed off, but it takes maturity to look at it with a little more perspective. I'm glad they're back in Newburyport with their sculptural buddies!

  2. Fantastic work, especially love the last picture! :P

    Wood Coffee Table