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Video: A six-story sculpture comes down in two minutes

It was 60 feet tall and stood at the corner of Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Pearl St. in Dallas for nearly 13 years — until Aug. 18, when the monumental sculpture, “Proverb,” came down in pieces.

Artist Mark di Suvero’s sculptures grace 55 cities around the world. “Proverb,” one of his tallest works, had movement built into it, with a metronome-like pendulum that swung free from its twin A-frame supports.

“Proverb” stood on a half-acre of green space behind the Meyerson Symphony Center, a space once considered an eyesore when the Arts District was first created a motor bank sat there. But the Dallas Symphony Foundation bought it 20 years ago, after public appeals from civic leaders and Meyerson architect I. M. Pei, to expand its facilities in the future or turn it into a gateway park to the Arts District. Instead, in June, the foundation sold it to Lincoln Property, which plans to build a 23-story office tower.

In 1960, an elevator accident left di Suvero in a wheelchair with a broken back. In four years, he learned how to walk with arm crutches and taught himself how to use an arc welder. By 1967, he’d bought his first crane — and pioneered its use as a sculptor’s tool to “cold bend” the steel via gravity. Di Suvero was a 2010 National Medal of Arts winner, along with Quincy Jones and author Harper Lee.

In keeping with his hand-on preferences, the 81-year-old Di Suvero was on site to watch the sculpture come down. He appears in the video at :57, consulting with workers in the center, and at 1:29.

Video produced by Dane Walter. Local Beat is an ongoing series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.

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