A Bronze Frolic

Interesting. The artist John Waddell, who is now 93, is best known for his larger-than-life bronze sculptures of young, frolicking nude women. He’s a longtime resident of the Verde Valley, and when I was in Arizona I got to see his tour-de-force Dance grouping in front of the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix.

dancer 1

According to Waddell’s bio, the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham became a pivotal event in his development as an artist. So the tragic death of four little girls led to his many portrayals of grown females in motion?

dancer 2

Some of the pieces here are quite arresting.

dancer 3

One couple reaches up to the highest boughs.

reaching up

The representational approach is not my cup of tea, especially. I liked the stuff the tree flung to the ground as much as the sculpture that rose above.

tree droppings

You can’t really imagine it the other way around, can you — a 93-year-old female sculptor receiving acclaim for her dancing young male nudes? No way.

But seeing all these women wending around the sidewalk, all that exertion, all that freedom, brought me out of myself somehow. I felt glad to see them there.

dancer 4


Filed under Art, Culture, History, Jean Zimmerman, Nature

2 responses to “A Bronze Frolic

  1. They were moved to their present location in 1974 from another site in Phoenix — or maybe they danced there.


    That stuff that the trees fling to the ground is the stuff of Valley Allergies (sniff, sniff), but those sculptures are really something! I saw them a few weeks ago when I first visited The Herberger to see the play, Other Desert Cities.

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