Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email
It’s tall; 18’ feet. Steel; Cor-Ten. Created in 1991, by sculptor Beverly Pepper. “Cleopatra’s Wedge” centers Burns Commons, where Prospect Avenue meets Ogden. I pass it frequently, musing that it resembles a gardening tool left behind by a jolly giant.
I must say though, it’s placed perfectly in the small space created by Mandel developers.
The towering shape was exhibited in New York and Paris before being purchased by Barry Mandel for about $200,000, which in today’s market seems like a real deal. It serves area residents well as a place to gather, and you have to ask, wouldn’t it be grand if more developers included open spaces in their plans?
The original idea was to surround it with smaller sculptures, but that would have been a mistake, the kind of art-overkill favored by dealers selling sculpture.
Illuminated at night by rather awkward-looking above-ground lighting detracts from its monumental presence. But it sits within a circle surrounded by young trees, modest benches and wending walkways — inviting links to think about the difference between “plop” art (sculptures insensitive to site, such as the rusting heap in Catalano Park) and this carefully sited beauty on the lower East Side.