Spindle (sculpture)

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Spindle
Berwyn car spindle 20070707.jpg
Artist Dustin Shuler
Year 1989
Type Assemblage
Dimensions 15 m (50 ft)
Location Cermak Plaza, Berwyn, Illinois

Spindle was a sculpture created in 1989 by artist Dustin Shuler (1948–2010).[1] It consisted of a 50 foot spike with eight cars impaled on it.[2]

History[edit]

From 1989 until its demolition on May 2, 2008, it was located in the car park of Cermak Plaza shopping center, at the corner of Cermak Road and Harlem Avenue (Illinois Route 43) in Berwyn, Illinois.[3]

It was originally commissioned by the shopping center owner, David Bermant, who donated his BMW car to be placed second from the top of the sculpture.[4] Shuler himself owned the red 1967 VW Beetle that crowned the sculpture.[5] The foundation of the sculpture reached nearly 30 feet into the ground; the cost of erecting it was over $75,000.[6] The sculpture has been featured in the film Wayne's World, on the cover of a book,[7] on postcards, state tourist brochures, and maps. On August 28, 2007, it was featured in the syndicated comic strip Zippy the Pinhead.[8]

The impaled cars on the spindle, from top to bottom, were:

  1. 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, red
  2. 1976 BMW New Class, silver License Plate reads "DAVE"
  3. 1981 Ford Escort, blue
  4. 1974 or 1973 Mercury Capri, green
  5. 1978 Ford Mustang, white over blue
  6. 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix, maroon or burgundy
  7. 1980 or 1979 Ford LTD, light yellow
  8. 1981 or 1979 Mercury Grand Marquis, black

Throughout its existence the sculpture was controversial amongst Berwyn residents, and in 1990 they voted overwhelmingly for it to be removed.[9] However, the mayor of Berwyn described the sculpture as "icon in our community",[9] and Bermant claimed that the shopping center received 30% more business than comparable shopping centers due to the quirky art around the center.[4]

Spindle being disassembled on May 2, 2008.

In July 2007, it was announced that the shopping center was to be redeveloped and that the site of the sculpture was earmarked for a new Walgreens store. Cermak Plaza already had a Walgreens, but it lacked a drive-thru window. There was debate as to whether the sculpture should be relocated or simply removed due to the high cost of relocation (estimated at over $350,000). The uncertain future of the sculpture again sparked disagreement between residents who viewed it as a Berwyn landmark and those who viewed it as an eyesore.[3][10]

On July 27, 2007, Chicago Critical Mass participants rode to Spindle in an effort to raise awareness of the sculpture. About 2,000 cyclists made the 14.8 mile trek from Daley Plaza in The Loop in support of the artwork.[11]

Spindle being disassembled on May 2, 2008.

On August 1, 2007, radio station WLUP interviewed the Berwyn mayor; the main topic of discussion was Spindle. He stated that the sculpture's removal had been pushed to September 2007, and that it would most likely be moved down the street.

The sculpture was made available for purchase in an eBay auction,[12] which ended April 17, 2008 with no bids.

On May 2, 2008, Robinette Demolition disassembled Spindle. A large crowd stood near the site taking pictures. The top two cars were removed from the spike by a crane, and stored for future use. The base of the spindle was then cut, and the spindle (along with the remaining cars) was pushed over with a crane. If sufficient funds can be raised, a new Spindle – featuring the old top two cars – may be erected.[13][14] A group backed by the Berwyn Route 66 Museum and Berwyn Arts Council took possession of the two cars in 2012, along with a pole from a former Anderson Ford sign, with the intention of rebuilding a slightly-shortened Spindle in the museum's parking lot.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dustin Shuler dies at 61; L.A. artist skewered cars into pop art". Los Angeles Times. 2010-05-13. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  2. ^ "Road Cheese, Day 1". Roadside America. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  3. ^ a b Brokamp, Cari (4 July 2007). "Car ‘Spindle’ coming down — whether it goes back up remains in the air". Suburban Life (GateHouse Media Inc.). Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  4. ^ a b "Audio commentary by David Bermant (mp3 file)". The David Bermant collection. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  5. ^ "Creator of famous Spindle monument Shuler dies". Berwyn Life. GateHouse Media, Inc. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Herrmann, Andrew (10 July 2007). "Spindle is outta here". Chicago Sun-Times (Sun-Times News Group). 
  7. ^ Pohlen, Jerome (2000). Oddball Illinois: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-371-8. 
  8. ^ Bill Griffith. ""Pointless?"". Zippy the Pinhead. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  9. ^ a b Noel, Josh; Gregory, Ted (11 July 2007). "End of road for Berwyn icon?". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Company). 
  10. ^ "Berwyn's 'Spindle' car sculpture set to fall". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Company). 10 July 2007. 
  11. ^ "Bikers back Spindle". Chicago Sun Times (Sun-Times News Group). 28 July 2007. 
  12. ^ Item number 150235374926
  13. ^ Herrmann, Andrew. "The Spindle Comes Down", Chicago Sun-Times, May 3, 2008[dead link]
  14. ^ Smith, Gerry (2008-05-04). "Paying respects to 'Spindle' laid low". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  15. ^ Schweinberg, Brett (2007-12-10). "The Spindle returns? Group aims to bring back a Berwyn icon". Suburban Life (Berwyn, IL). Retrieved 2012-09-07. 

Coordinates: 41°50′59″N 87°48′05″W / 41.8497°N 87.8014°W / 41.8497; -87.8014