What’s your first impression when you see this sculpture? What do you think?
[not sure where I snagged this photo from…apologies]
This is one of my favorites pieces of art and it happens to be in Vancouver…or at least, used to be in Vancouver. Known by most as “the upside down church,” it’s actual name is “Device to Root Out Evil.”
How’s that for a name?
My first thoughts when I saw this sculpture was the challenge for the church to be subversive.
Here’s the article from the Vancouver Sun about the art that caused a great amount of controversy:
Alas, Vancouver loses its upside-down church [by Douglas Todd]
Vancouver won’t have its upside-down church sculpture to kick around anymore.
It was announced today (Monday, June 2) the mischievous outdoor sculpture is heading on a lease to Calgary’s Glenbow Museum, after the Vancouver parks board voted to dismantle it – despite many adoring the debate-provoking work, called Device to Root Out Evil.
American artist Dennis Oppenheim’s 1997 work came to Vancouver as part of the 2005 Sculpture Biennale. But Vancouver residents were divided on it. Owned by the Benefic Foundation, a non-profit, the inverted church could be worth a lot of money after all this controversy. But nobody is talking about how much the Glenbow Museum is paying.
Images of the sculpture were last week displayed on giant screens at the annual conference of the B.C. United Church. The liberal church leaders used the sculpture as a positive symbol of how Christianity has been metaphorically turned on its head in recent decades, and needs to reconfigure itself to get a fresh message across to the public.
Anticipating that the “Device” might disappear from Vancouver, my three-week-old column argues that the mini-park at the foot of Bute Street should become the site of rotating works of controversial art. This would parallel the changing works of art that are placed on top of the “Fourth Plinth” in London’s Trafalgar Square, causing wonderful cultural debates.
One thing I can’t resist saying: The condo dwellers who complained the sculpture blocks their view of the Vancouver waterfront must be smoking something quite strong. Go take a look at the site. No one’s view is being blocked, not even that of the property-value obsessed types who live near the gorgeous little park.