Monday, December 3, 2012

High Art on the High Plains

On a recent trip down memory lane in the town where we lived for three years, 27 years ago, we needed to check up on one of the city's most famous personalities. 
There he was, in a slightly different location and position, but still gloriously, unashamedly bare nekkid.

One of two full-size bronze castings of Michelangelo's David stands in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The statue was given to the city  in 1971 by Thomas Fawick, a Sioux Falls native who made his fortune as an inventor and automobile manufacturer. 

"When first erected in Fawick Park, the statue was quite controversial in the city. Many felt a nude body displayed in public was not only in bad taste, but would have a bad effect on the moral values of the citizens. The statue was placed facing southeast, away from traffic, and trees were planted to screen it from the street.

Later, when the park required some work, the statue was moved and now faces north." (Tree-free, and as far as we can tell he hasn't caused any accidents by rubberneckers yet - NDL) - wikimapia

Sioux Falls is a prosperous plains town that has undergone some remarkable sprucing up of its river banks and falls area to become a lovely recreation destination for people from miles around. It is also the biggest center of shopping and services for several surrounding states, and so, draws many out-of-towners on weekends and weekdays too.

27 years ago, the bits and pieces of paths and bike trails did not connect as continuously as they do now (20 miles around town, the locals boast), but even back then if you knew how to wind around obstacles you could get in a pretty good hike that started at Fawick Park and ended at the falls of the Big Sioux. 

One day while waiting for a friend and her dog to arrive for a walk date we observed two middle-aged women who appeared to be from a more rural locale intently regarding the infamous statue. 

We weren't really listening to their conversation until we caught one asking the other, 
"Well, whaddya think?". 
"Oh, I'd say about 8 pounds", the other replied with a snigger. 

It was then that we followed their gaze to the area where city leaders had once suggested 
a grape leaf be strategically placed. 
Considering that the statue is made of bronze, the gals may have underestimated young David's manhood, but we're thinkin' they were close. 
And we will never look at him in quite the same way again.

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