Outside of the swanky Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas, you can’t help but notice a three-story gleaming orb resting in their lush garden off Main Street: an enormous, hyper-realistic eyeball, streaky red veins and all.
The piece is called simply Eye, and was created by artist Tony Tasset in 2007 as part of a temporary display in Chicago. It stands (rolls?) 30 feet tall, and is modeled after Tasset’s own baby blues. Made of fiberglass, it was fabricated by a company best known for creating giant, kitschy roadside attractions—not unlike the kind you’d see here, here and here.
The big eyeball spent a few years in storage, made a brief appearance in St. Louis, and was finally brought to Texas in 2013. It was purchased by the hotel as part of their expansive art collection, and to anchor their downtown location and its sculpture garden.
Tasset denies any deep symbolism behind the work, stating in an interview with the website Co. Design that he “just wanted to make something awesome.” As startled passersby generally agree, he succeeded.
Update as of October 2020: The sculpture is currently closed indefinitely.