Punctuation Spire Sculpture
Punctuation Spire was created by William Crutchfield in 1981. The sculpture stands 28 feet high, 4 feet wide and 6 feet deep weighing 3,000 pounds. The materials used to create the sculpture include steel and aluminum, eight-ply birch plywood and Honduras mahogany. The piece was originally commissioned by A. Alfred Taubman for the Beverly Center, an eight-story shopping mall at the edge of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood in Los Angeles and was later gifted to Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. The sculpture now stands in the Wunsch Hojnacki Atrium of the IUPUI Campus Center, where it was installed in the summer of 2010.
According to Artist William Crutchfield, Punctuation Spire celebrates the English language and its essential importance to the development of civilization. It can be viewed as pure abstract form from any side. This sculpture is made of 12 basic symbols inspired by the typewriter; characters ideal for creating a three-dimensional work. The question mark base is balanced on a visually small point which lends the spire a feeling of buoyancy, a feeling of lift, a sense of life and love—a powerful presence. It is one of a series of four monumental works.
The other three works, Alphabet Spire, Countdown and Wish, have similar structural considerations. Alphabet Spire (in Westfarms Mall at Corbins Corner, Connecticut) is the first in the series and the tallest at 32 ft. It is comprised of the alphabet from A to Z. Its structure suggests civilization's upward growth as language has evolved through time. Countdown, (in Short Hills Mall in Short Hills, New Jersey), is a tribute to the heroic flight of Apollo 11, the first flight to the moon. The numbers zero through nine commemorate space exploration as expressed by the countdown before a launch. The polished stainless steel insert in the number zero at the top of the sculpture symbolizes the moon and the beginning of space exploration. Wish, the fourth and most recent sculpture (in Marley Station Mall, Glen Burnie, Maryland), is the first major sculpture assembling a word and, in this case, signifying hope.
"These four sculptures are the only ones I know of that deal with all the symbols of our modern written language. William Shakespeare's plays and poems had done the groundwork. I hope that these four sculptures will remain as monuments to one of the greatest achievements of mankind, English language." — William Crutchfield
William Crutchfield, artist
"One of the most important things about my work is imagination. Everything in the composition is necessary, and it's alive. I draw a complete idea (hopefully). Every dot, every line is in the right place. And that's something I think about. The finished work should have multiple levels of expression. I think drawing is the root of everything including sculpture and after you've drawn for so many years, you just think that way."
Dean Valerie Eickmeier, Herron School of Art and Design
"William Crutchfield has a whimsical and satirical approach to art that is at once humorous and thought provoking. The body of his work emphasizes trains, ships, aircraft and other things mechanical, yet there are many quirky figures, animals and other tangents on display throughout the decades. The range of scale and mediums he uses—from small notepad line drawings to six-foot watercolors to 28-foot tall wooden sculptures—qualify him as true multi-media artists. We are fortunate to have acquired such an outstanding work of art by William Crutchfield. Punctuation Spire is from a series which began as homage to what he views as humankind's greatest achievement, English language. His sculptures are rare relative to his prolific production of prints and drawings."
Dan Maxwell, Director of the Campus Center
"The placement of Punctuation Spire in the Campus Center is the perfect merger of art in a public space. The size of the sculpture is a compliment to the open, inviting space of the Wunsch Hojnacki Atrium. The materials of Punctuation Spire are a striking blend with the interior materials of the Campus Center and draw attention to the piece as it reaches upward within the atrium.
The Campus Center serves as the community center, of sorts, to the IUPUI campus. It is fitting to have Bill Crutchfield's Punctuation Spire as part of the public art in the building, showcasing the talent and treasure of our students, faculty, staff and alumni."
Punctuation Spire by William Crutchfield
Biography of William Crutchfield
William Crutchfield is an internationally known multi-media artist, born in 1932 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He earned a B.F.A. degree in painting from Herron School of Art and Design in 1956 and an M.F.A. degree from Tulane University in 1960. A Fulbright Scholarship funded his studies in Hamburg, Germany from 1960 to 1962. He joined Herron's faculty to teach foundation studies and advanced drawing from 1962 to 1965 and then became chairman of foundation studies at the Minneapolis College of Art from 1965 to 1967. He and his wife, Barbara, settled into their studio in San Pedro, California, producing drawings, paintings, lithographs, screen prints and sculpture. His work is in collections from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.