'Ls' sculpture in front of Downtown Pittsburgh building to move to Seattle
June 16, 2016 5:08 PM
George Rickey's sculpture, "L's -- One Up One Down Excentric" outside the National Steel Center on Stanwix Street in Downtown.
By Marylynne Pitz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The 27-foot-tall sculpture of two Ls, which has sat outside the National Steel Center on Stanwix Street, Downtown, for 33 years, is heading to Seattle.
Martin Selig, a wealthy real estate developer in Washington state, has purchased “Ls — One Up One Down Excentric,” which was created by artist George Rickey. It cost $310,000, which includes the buyer’s premium.
It will be placed in downtown Seattle, where it will dance in the southern winds that blow from that city’s waterfront.
During a telephone interview Thursday, Mr. Selig said the kinetic artwork will stand at Spring and Second streets, at the northeast corner of a building that once housed a Federal Reserve Bank branch. Mr. Selig’s real estate company owns the building and plans to build an addition to it. At the building’s southeast corner, Mr. Selig placed the 12-foot-tall “Adam” portion of a Fernando Botero sculpture called “Adam and Eve.”
As for the Ls sculpture, Mr. Selig said an art conservator with Rickey’s estate will do any work necessary to restore the piece and ensure its joints and parts work properly.
“It’s a real process to bring that out here,” he said. “To install it, it will take two months.”
M&J Wilkow, a Chicago-based firm that bought the National Steel Center at 20 Stanwix St., is spending millions of dollars to renovate the plaza, and the sculpture did not fit with its plans to soften the public area. M&J Wilkow consigned the artwork for auction to Sotheby’s.
Mr. Selig, who has placed at least a dozen artworks in downtown Seattle, purchased the Rickey sculpture last month. “I buy on impulse. If it fits, I go after it,” he said.
Mr. Selig said he first saw a George Rickey sculpture during the 1960s while touring a private home in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Ever since then, he said, he has learned more about Mr. Rickey’s career and paid attention when the artist’s works came up for auction. Mr. Rickey died at age 95 in 2002.
Marylynne Pitz: email@example.com; 412-263-1648 or on Twitter: @mpitzpg
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