Pink Landscape – Three Trusses Plus

Near the center of Cass Park that is bounded by Temple on the North,
Second on the East, Third on the West and Ledyard Street on the
South near downtown Detroit

James L. Lawton was born in 1944.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Murray State University in Kentucky and then a Master of Fine Arts degree from Kent State University.  He joined the faculty at Michigan State and became the co-ordinator of their sculpture program.

Cass Park is an unadorned urban space that could potentially be an attractive addition to a much more sylvan Detroit.  Perhaps, an iterest in making this park appealing led the City of Detroit Department of Recreation to commission James Lawton to create a sculpture.  As you can see, his sculpture appears to consist of three pipes coming up from under the ground of Cass Park and then abruptly turning back into the ground.  As Dennis Alan Nawrocki writes in his book, Art in Detroit Public Places (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2008), the sculpture may appear to be a “subterranean pipeline appearing temporarily above the ground.”   Nawrocki notes that the sculpture was painted hot pink when it was installed in 1978.  Subsequently, it was painted in a variety of colors including lavender, burgundy, yellow and white.  By the time I took a photograph in May, 2011; it was back to its original pink.  I do not know of other similar James Lawton sculptures in Detroit.

Sculptor: James L. Lawton
Date of creation and installation: 1978
Use in 2011: Public Art
Sculptor’s webpage:
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Cass Park is not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites:  Cass Park is not listed
National Register of Historic Places: Cass Park: #04001580; Listed February 2, 2005


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