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Wrestling Grumman Greenhouse into place – a photo post

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October 21, 2011   ·   13 Comments

Jordan Griska's Grumman Greenhouse, going into the Lenfest Plaza yesterday.  All photos in this post by Sean Tucker, courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

We got some photos from Heike Rass of Jordan Griska’s airplane being installed in Lenfest Plaza.  We are herewith sharing them with you!  All the photos were taken yesterday by Sean Tucker.  Griska is the one wearing the bright green t-shirt.  The installation will continue Monday and should be finished that day, Rass said.  We interviewed Jordan about his plane for a podcast.  The interview is full of lots of information about the project.  Check it out.

Jordan Griska's Grumman Greenhouse, going into the Lenfest Plaza yesterday. All photos in this post by Sean Tucker, courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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13 Responses to “Wrestling Grumman Greenhouse into place – a photo post”

  1. Tom Janney says:

    I understand this is just art, but the artist has done a great disservice to those of us who live and die fighting America’s wildland fires. Leaving the aircraft in CalFire paint and displaying it as such, does nothing for the memories of the pilots we’ve lost over the years. Completely disrespectful.

  2. libby says:

    While I get your point, I have to think it’s not so much personal as an attempt to turn “swords into plowshares,” which is exactly what this artist has done. But thanks for sharing your take on this.

  3. Dale Head says:

    I have to agree with Tom here. If it were in military colors it would meet the stated goal of turnings swords into plowshares. (While I’m certain that the families of Naval Aviators who lost their family members while in service to the country may feel that this depiction is disrespectful as well.)
    As it is, this installation hits very close to home for those of us in the aerial firefighting community. This aircraft in these colors was used for peaceful missions in the public service. Here is a link to the memorial webpage for the national aerial firefighter community.
    http://www.airtanker.org/memorial

    Please consider the feelings of those of us who have lost friends and family as they fought fire for the safety of our communities.

  4. Ben says:

    I must agree with those above. It’s an airplane that was used for a specific civilian mission. I’m not a big fan of posing it mid-crash. All this communicates to me is that no one involved has ever witnessed an aviation accident, because if they had, this would make their stomach turn.

    It’s an airplane, and a worn out one. It at least deserves to sit in a museum, or rot in peace with it’s brethren under the Tucson sun.

  5. Sandy says:

    Without military insignia, all I see when I look at this art is a red and white plane that crashed and is now a greenhouse for some reason. The plane does not look like a military plane, so the whole point of the art is lost. To make matters worse, some people recognize this as a firefighting plane. The artist has NOT turned “swords into plowshares” because the plane as depicted is not a “sword”–to the contrary, it is a heroic plane that was used to save lives. I wish the artist had done his homework and realized this–if he had, I have no doubt he would have at least painted the plane with the military colors and insignia.

  6. Maria says:

    Art is expression and seeks provoke to emotion and thought. This piece provokes sadness and wonder of T-100, and by association its crews, with a history of public service would be would be posed in such a way. I choose to remember their life & times in flight doing what they do so well.

  7. Julie J Stewart says:

    If the artist’s true intent was indeed “Swords to Plowshares”, then he should have immediately painted the aircraft to depict a military style aircraft. As it is now, it is simply a replication of our greatest horror, the loss of an Air Tanker crew while fighting fire. In current slang, this is a major “fail”. How heartbreaking to see a noble and honorable aircraft that served it’s country in both war and peacetime be used in such a strange way. Granted, he picked up the aircraft for what I gather was an inexpensive price but like the others, I prefer to see the aircraft retired to the desert or to a museum. Thinking of the friends and colleagues we have lost over the years in tragic Airtanker crashes…..

  8. libby says:

    All such touching comments! I am sorry for all the loss of life, all the sacrifices people made. Like all good works of art, this one can be interpreted in many ways, and you are certainly entitled to your understanding of the work and your emotional response to it.
    For me, it brings to mind how sad I am at the loss of lives of fine young men as well as the notion of returning them (too soon) to the earth, out of which the life cycle will renew.

  9. Mikey Gravel says:

    What a bunch of totally irritating comments. Was this featured on some kind of flyboy site or what? Go get your own airplane and you can put it in a museum or the desert or anyplace else you think it should be. Its an absolutely fantastic piece, I would guess the artist used this particular airplane because it was what he could afford. A picture is a poor substitute for seeing it in person. And as Mr. Grishka says: “Halting the actions of this machine by grounding it in Lenfest Plaza will turn this mobile weapon into a stationary iconic object.”

  10. Bruce Edelman says:

    The twisted fuselage and the angle of the downed plane viewed from the street are just too pristine. What it needs is verisimilitude to make it fully realized. All of the meticulous work that went into slicing the plane up are wasted without the full effect of a crash. It needs to be surrounded by flames and more wreckage to bring out its full meaning. I hate political correctness in any area. However, in contrast to the Claes Oldenburg piece, this crumpled wreck is nothing more than a distraction. The greenhouse is just an absurd appendage.

  11. Colin Keefe says:

    I think it’s a great piece.

    But I do think some of the previous comments re: markings have real validity – we trade in symbols and I do think the fact that the paint markings tag this plane as a civilian aircraft change the reading of the work in probably unintended ways. Not necessarily bad – just different.

    IMO the fact that the above commenters don’t have MFAs doesn’t make them any less right in how they read this thing. Their point is that this particular object is not a “mobile weapon”. Are they wrong?

  12. Karl says:

    Eh, I think that a lot of the disparaging comments here seem a pretty melodramatic. So the plane’s painted for civilian use; I never would have noticed that had the original commenter pointed that out. And even knowing that doesn’t change the fact that the plane was originally designed (to quote the first line of the plane model’s wiki) as “the first purpose-built, single airframe anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft to enter service with the US Navy.”

    It’s not a sculpture about plane crashes, so it doesn’t need gaudy flames. The “pristine” crash configuration of it serves the symbolic need of the piece.

    If it doesn’t look like a military plane to you because it doesn’t have some kindof red circle or swastika or whatever you want it to have on it, you don’t know what military planes look like. Would painting military insignia on the QEII make it a destroyer?

    And as for re-painting it or stripping the old paint off of it; do you really think that would make the sculpture look better, or have a clearer meaning? Because I think that it would add nothing to the way the majority of people read the sculpture while simultaneously ruining the original beauty of the plane’s surface. It would be very difficult to strip that paint off of this plane effectively, and there’s nothing he could put in its place that would look better.

    As for letting the plane rot in “dignity” in Tuscon, I think it’s more dignified to the labor of the men and women who designed and built the plane be that it be maintained in ANY form in a place where it will appreciated by tons of people. Because, honestly, in this form I think the chances of it being scrapped are way less than before.

    And, yeah, it would be nice if the plane was whole, but let’s be realistic; you can’t fit a military plane with a wingspan of 72 ft into a plaza and still have a really functioning plaza of this size. I think this is a pretty admirable way of fitting it into a smaller footprint while trying to keep all of the best forms of the plane’s shape as intact as possible.

  13. NAVvet says:

    Colin, YES these were mobile weapons at one time, one of the first to be able to fire missiles and drop bombs. Even atomic bombs (see article on the Mark 90 – http://www.r-a-f-s.org/newsletters/8%20AUG.pdf). That said, she should have been repainted in a pseudo military fashion (so as not to offend any surviving veterans). Firefighters have a hard enough mission in 50-year old airframes without seeing this twisted image.I do not like the crash configuration, as my father flew these ‘Stoofs'(maybe even this one, checking logs asap), and lost friends in aviation accidents. However the concept of turning it into a greenhouse, and just seeing those clean lines again is refreshing. Too bad the artist couldn’t see a more soaring image to reality.

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