From The Archives
Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2017

Spot Reference:
Miami Orange Peels (Claes Oldenburg)

by Nick Ferreira

Like most things one is passionate about, BMX has been a gift and a curse. I've met lots of people, learned how to problem­solve, become (relatively) self-sufficient, etc. But I've also had to deal with injuries, missed deadlines because I had to "hang with the boys'; and at 31 I still get caught up in some serious FOMO when it comes to missing a session. But all of the downsides put together don't even come close to what I've found the most unfortunate of all: the one-track mindset of BMX that overtook my life for so long. Sure, it's great to "see the world differently" because you ride but one thing that I didn't really see differently was why and how the spots we ride came to exist or recognize their importance. I've been to engineering marvels and architectural masterpieces but until recently only saw them as something to ride. And while I still love finding and riding new spots, the history of them and how they have come to exist, has started to become just as interesting to me. Seeing The Glory Hole's spillway built to do exactly what it was intended to do earlier this winter was almost more interesting to me than seeing someone hit 11 o'clock on the fullpipe. Spot Reference will be a column to briefly discuss the original intentions of what are now legendary spots. First up: the orange peels in Miami, FL with a slight digression to another spot by the same artists.

Trent Lutzke

The orange peels are a piece of that urban puzzle that we all see but don't really take notice of, public art. That easy-to-miss if you're not looking for it vibe of public art is one of the reasons why I like it so much- you could have sat through mad art-history courses like myself and still walk by pieces that are actually a big-deal, capital "A'; piece of Art just like the orange peels. The orange peels or rather the transition that we often see people riding is actually part of a public art installation by the American sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels. The piece was built in 1990 and was meant to act as an homage to the city/state and what it's known for: citrus fruit, The Orange Bowl, and water. The husband/wife art duo, known for their large-scale sculptures of mundane objects like baseball bats, buttons, and flashlights also created the piece Cupid's Span, a huge version of Cupid's bow and arrow penetrating San Francisco's picturesque waterfront. Built on a grassy hill, the arrow penetrating the earth is, according to the artists, supposed to evoke the mythological tale of Eros shooting his arrow into the Earth to make it fertile. Word. I guess that makes sense.

I've never ridden the orange peels but I did ride Cupid's Span. The sculpture is so large it's one of those forget-to-look-up experiences where it feels almost impossible to even take it in. I think that feeling kind of sums up the experience of spots, and maybe life in general. For better or worse, it's hard for us to see the bigger picture. Whether it's a piece of municipal infrastructure or a million dollar sculpture.  ︎