26 January 2016

Piazza Lavoro by Ned Smyth

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This sculpture is showing it’s age, but not as badly as it’s companion piece Mythic Source. Installed in 1984, only the base of the palm tree at the center of the display is disintegrating. For nearly 30 years old it’s actually held up well to Pittsburgh’s changing weather. This sculpture pair are prominent in the Allegheny Landing sculpture park near the river on the Northshore.

The artwork was commissioned by the Heinz family and their company. The nearby plaque says:

"This two-part sculpture recognizes the significant contributions of Pittsburgh to American labor history by a symbolic representation of labor's role in our nation's development. The human figures populating the facades are engaged in this activity, while the palm trees and marine life are reminders of the delicate balance between civilization and nature."

The narrative on the plaque continues:

"On the upper level, "Piazza Lavoro" suggests the heights to which civilization may be elevated."

See Mythic Source – for photos of the lower portion of this piece.

UPDATE: In 2016 these two sculptures were repaired and slightly redesigned. Instead of just repairing the ground mosaic of Mythic Source, it was completely removed and relocated to Piazza Lavorno. Now at the top of the hill in Allegheny Landing, any flooding along the river should not affect it. It also removed it from being subjected to the larger volume of foot and bike traffic that travels past Mythic Source all day.

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