His fist, shown here, has been a piece of controversial artwork from its first appearance in Detroit. Some Detroiters feel it signifies the worst of Detroit--the glorification of violence--while sitting brazenly at its center.
Others find it representative of a city that always fights back--much like the famed boxer.
I used to dislike it but now I find it soothing. Maybe that's true of any piece of art you see three times a week for many years. It can't help but become prosaic, familiar, part of the landscape.
The monument, (Robert Graham was the artist) is a 24-foot long arm and fist held in balanced suspension from a pyramidal support of bronze poles. Weighing approximately 8,000 lb., it rises 24 feet above a major downtown intersection.
The initial arm was modeled in clay at 14 inches in length. With the aid of a computer, a full-scale steel armature, 24 feet in length, was made and wrapped with wire and covered with clay. The final clay model was divided into eight sections and cast in bronze, then assembled. The pyramid structure was fabricated out of steel, and faced with bronze plates. A tribute to Joe Louis is inscribed on the arm.
This piece of art is at the hub of the city. Do you find it offensive, exciting, provocative, defining?
Here's a video for a 360 degree view.