Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"Bear and Cubs", Honolulu

Next up we're taking a peek at the little Bear and Cubs sculpture at Alakea & Hotel in downtown Honolulu. The Public Art Archive blurb about it:

Benjamin Bufano, born in San Fele, Italy in 1886, immigrated with his family to the U.S. when he was three years old. He worked in the studios of several N.Y. artists before traveling and studying around the world. A philosophy evolved out of Bufano's travels: "Art is the peoples one world--one color, one race. It is the only universal language spoken. Cherished by every people or race on earth, it is the basic alphabet of human communication" "Bear and Nursing Cubs" is a gift to the State of Hawaii from the Nielsen Collection.

Bufano was a well-known Italian-American sculptor based in San Francisco, who worked a lot with stylized animal themes. Bears seemed to be a particular favorite of his, and there are a number of other Bear and Cubs sculptures besides this one, done in various materials. A quick search brings up several others, mostly around the Bay Area: At the UCSF campus in San Francisco; a museum in Oakland; a park in Piedmont; outside a Kaiser clinic in Fremont; another museum in Englewood, CO; a whole Bufano sculpture garden at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore; and one at the recently restored sculpture garden at the Oregon Zoo.

The Oregon Zoo one has suffered a bit of wear and tear, with several decades of kids climbing over it. Apparently they're in the middle of giving it replacement ears now. As for the Bay Area versions, the Piedmont & Oakland bears appear in a couple of posts in a blog about Oakland-area geology. Which is kind of a tangent, but geologists walking around and explaining stuff that's hiding in plain sight is always an interesting subject, if you ask me. Also here's a recent SF Chronicle article about where to find Bufano sculptures around the city, and there are at least 58 of them out there, by one count.

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