Lee Littlefield, 1-540 Flowers, 2007. Wood, vines, and enamel. View of work installed in Arkansas.

Rogue Sculpture in Polite Society: Lee Littlefield

For nearly 20 years, along certain stretches of highway and other unexpected places, there have been sightings of curiously elegant and quirky creatures known to art world insiders (and a few public officials) as “pop-ups.” These more-or-less public sculptures created by Lee Littlefield (who died in June 2013) testify to his sculptural persona: rangy, appealing, and a bit subversive. Emerging organically from stretches of green space flanking major throughways, these intensely colored, abstracted plant forms (some up to 25 feet tall) cropped up without warning, sometimes with approval and sometimes not, with periodic shifts in position and location as Littlefield took them down, spiffed them up, and moved or replaced them. In contrast to the increasingly specialized niche of big-budget, permanent public art inhabited by bureaucrats, consultants, and those artists with the business savvy, studio infrastructure, and patience to navigate the sometimes peculiar logic of officialdom… see the entire article in the print version of November’s Sculpture magazine.