I blogged about this sculpture not long after moving to Santa Fe. Now it is the subject of some local politics.
The New Mexico State Land Office has a new Land Commissioner and he plans to remove the Brickhead: Hope, a sculpture created by James Tyler, and replace it with an oil pump jack to acknowledge the revenues generated by oil and gas royalties on leases of state land.
The Land Office building is located near the center of Santa Fe, a short walk from the Plaza. In this historic area, an oil pump would seem to be so incongruous with the art and architecture here. Why not commission some public art that pays homage to Big Oil instead?
It is apparently not the first time an oil pump jack will appear on the site ... and it was quite controversial the first time around, too.
You can read more about it here: Sculpture Debate Echos 1979 Pump Jack Controversy
I wonder if the Land Commissioner is doing away with the art inside the walls as well? A couple years ago, the halls inside were covered with wonderful photographs of state lands (most do NOT include oil well imagery, but rely on pastoral images of lands leased for grazing and other purposes). There is also a gallery with rotating art by New Mexican artists in the lobby of the building. It will be interesting to see if that program continues during Commissioner Dunn's reign.