Sculpture Links Past and Future : Time Capsule Incorporated in Tribute to Discoverer Cabrillo

Why certain mementos--and not others--are expected to intrigue future generations when a time capsule is opened 100 years hence, is anybody’s guess.

Such a capsule, a two-by-six-foot dome, has been incorporated into a major work of sculpture by American artist Eugene Sturman, to be formally dedicated on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in the forecourt of the new $65-million International Tower at the northwest corner of Figueroa and 9th streets.

Some of the items to be sealed in the capsule, purportedly dear to the hearts of Angelenos in the 1980s, will include Fernando Valenzuela’s autographed pitcher’s glove, a cassette of the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies, a copy of Mayor Tom Bradley’s blueprint for Los Angeles in the year 2,000, editions of the major newspapers in Los Angeles and, of all things, a phone answering machine--that may serve to communicate some of the electronic frustrations of our time.

Back to the present--the soon-to-be-unveiled, 33-foot metal sculpture, valued at $250,000 and titled by the artist “Homage to Cabrillo: Venetian Quadrant,” reflects the timelessness of creativity and the insatiable curiosity of man.

Sturman describes his work as “incorporating history and imagery” and linking the past to modern technology and the Space Age.

“I am equally fascinated with both. I chose to pay homage to Juan Cabrillo because of his discoveries along the coast of California. But the Venetian subtitle is a personal tribute and a kinship I feel for the birthplace of Marco Polo and the Golden Age of the doges when people were experimenting with such devices as sextants and astrolabes, and people like Leonardo Da Vinci were laying the ground for new discoveries and for achieving ‘impossible dreams.’ ”

Made of stainless steel, bronze and copper, the sculpture has four main elements that form a quadrant to represent the four corners of the earth or four points of the celestial sphere. These radiate from the top down to a 10-foot spiral, giant copper-clad disk and the six-foot domed capsule.

The selection of Sturman, whose work is represented in many private and public collections, is an outgrowth of a collaboration between South Park Associates, the developers of International Tower, and the Community Redevelopment Agency. Sturman won the commission through a city-sponsored competition.

The 20-story International Tower with its rose-toned, precast exterior of granite aggregates and five floors of skylighted corner executive suites, was designed by Herbert Nadel & Partners of Santa Monica. It will be flanked by one of downtown’s first aesthetically designed, mixed-use parking structures designed and constructed by SyArt of Gardena.

The tower is topped by a heliport, and the parking structure will have a landscaped rooftop park.