As far as iconic pieces of public art go, none may be as daringly modern or whimsical as Minneapolis’ iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.
This giant spoon and cherry was erected in 1985 by artist Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen and is the centerpiece of the Walker Art Center’s Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the largest urban sculpture park in the world. Oldenburg is an artist who is known for making oversized versions of everyday objects and food products. Together with his wife he set up a number of public sculptures, including Chicago’s Batcolumn sculpture. The spoon was Oldenburg’s idea, who had a habit of doodling spoons ever since 1962 when he was inspired by a spoon resting on a piece of fake chocolate. The cherry in the piece was van Bruggen’s idea, wanting to use it as a comment on the garden’s otherwise staid layout.
The spoon itself weighs 5,800 pounds and the cherry, another 1,200 pounds. The cherry’s stem also acts as a fountain which sprays into the bowl of the spoon and off into the pond beneath. Even the pond itself has meaning, being shaped to resemble a linden seed, drawing attention to the rows of linden trees planted nearby.
The city of Minneapolis seems to have largely embraced the massive sculpture, expressing almost universal outrage when Spoonbridge and Cherry was vandalized in 2012 as part of a “Kony 2012” protest. The artwork was cleaned up and still remains as a somewhat goofy, definitely unforgettable icon of the Minnesota city.