Newport arts commissioners make oranges top pick among potential sculpture exhibit additions

“Slices of Heaven” by Craig Gray is a stack of steel, stucco and concrete citrus slices. It was the top pick by both the public and a city selection panel for the next round of the Newport Beach Civic Center Park sculpture exhibition.
(Courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

Makes sense for Orange County: The Newport Beach Arts Commission’s top pick for the next stage of Newport’s rotating sculpture exhibit at Civic Center Park is a 9-foot-tall tower of orange wedges.

On Thursday, commissioners, with input from outside experts and a public online poll, selected 14 pieces of modern art — 10 finalists and four alternates — that they would most like to see in the exhibit, which is entering its fourth phase. They had 31 candidates to choose from.

Here are their picks, which will go to the City Council for consideration April 9:

  • “Slices of Heaven” by Craig Gray — a stack of steel, stucco and concrete citrus slices in Technicolor orange and yellow. Gray also is the creator of “Popsicles,” one of the works currently in the park. “Slices of Heaven” was easily the top choice among the public.
  • “Pinnacle” by Stephanie Bachiero — a 6-foot-tall abstract piece of engineered aerospace polymer and carbon fiber coated in white lacquer.
Finalists, clockwise from upper left: “Slices of Heaven,” “Pinnacle,” “Mule Deer,” “Hurricane” and “Chairman of the Board.”
(Courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

  • “Hurricane” by Ray Katz — a 9½-foot-tall by 16-foot-wide jumble of Tinkertoy-like shapes in brushed aluminum. It’s by the same artist as “Odyssey,” a sculpture shown in the exhibit’s 2014 debut.
  • “Chairman of the Board” by Steven Rieman — a 13-foot-tall stainless-steel pincer-like scoop. The artist created the currently displayed “Flight.”
  • “Mule Deer” by Michael Boyce — a roughly 5-foot-tall and 4-foot-wide bronze buck.
Finalists, clockwise from upper left: “Spy Boy,” “Delilah,” “Feathers in the Wind,” “Polished Stainless Steel Sculptures” and “The Tot.”
(Courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

  • “The Tot” by Richard Becker — a 32-inch-tall stainless-steel lad wearing swim trunks and goggles.
  • “Spy Boy” by David Buckingham — a multicolored 6-foot-tall humanoid figure made from found scrap steel. It is the little brother to “Pretty Boy” from the exhibit’s first phase.
  • “Feathers in the Wind” by Alex G — a kinetic sculpture featuring three swirling blue steel feathers atop a 10-foot pole.
  • “Delilah” by Benjamin Victor — a life-size bronze statue of the biblical seductress. It is by the same artist who created the sculpture at the 1/1 Marines memorial in Castaways Park.
  • “Polished Stainless Steel Sculptures” by Lake Daffner —, a quartet of abstract steel figures.

Here are the four alternates:

Alternates, clockwise from upper left: “Start Now,” “Exposed,” “Fallen Sky” and “Contender.”
(Courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

  • “Contender” by John Merigian — a 13-foot-tall leggy stick figure of welded corten steel. The same artist created “Be Still and Know,” currently on display in the garden not far from the City Hall driveway.
  • “Exposed” by Kathy Taslitz — a 3½-foot-tall stainless-steel leaf with lace-like detailing.
  • “Fallen Sky” by Coral Lambert — a pair of steel and iron geometric blue blocks with silver-colored divots, one 5 feet tall, the other 9 feet.
  • “Start Now” by Scott Froschauer — 10 feet tall with a mirrored octagonal face, it looks like a stop sign but instead reads “Start.”

The final selections will be installed this fall and remain on display for two years.