Who Is John Henry?

Passersby in downtown Tampa - or anyone with a view of the waterfront just north of the Platt Street Bridge - may have been wondering about the giant, red steel sculpture sprouting up in MacDill Park this week. It's part of Chattanooga-based artist John Henry's Peninsula Project, which brings his monumental sculptures to seven Florida cities: Boca Raton, Miami, Naples, Orlando, Sarasota, Tallahassee and Tampa.

Technically, I have to file Henry's Big Max under plop art (not my favorite species of public art) but it's nice to see something - anything - new downtown. Between this piece, the offerings of Lights on Tampa and the opening of the History Center, the city's core should be significantly spiffed up in time for the Super Bowl.

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Megan Voeller is Creative Loafing’s visual art critic. She teaches at the University of Tampa and The Art Institute of Tampa, edits the weekly online newsletter of CreativeTampaBay and blogs at Artsqueeze.com.

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