Sunday, November 18, 2007

Berwyn, IL - The Spindle by Dustin Shuler

If you are into unique public artwork, and are in the Chicagoland area, take a trip to Berwyn, Illinois. But make it soon! Dustin Shuler's Spindle is a fun piece of work set in the middle of the Cermak Plaza Shopping Center parking lot (Cermak Road and Harlem Ave in Berwyn). However, there are plans to remove this odd piece of work to make way for a Walgreen's drug store. Of course, there is also a grass roots movement to try to prevent this: Save The Spindle.
The sculpture has been known by other nicknames: Car Kebob, Eight Car Pileup, etc. It was created in 1989 for then shopping center owner David Bermant, who's BMW was donated for the sake of art and ended up second from the top (see wikipedia). It was featured in the film Wayne's World, and of course has ended up on postcards and brochures and maps, showing the uniqueness of this Chicago suburb. I designed a postcard available here if you want to have your own piece of Americana to keep or to send!
Me and my six year old daughter went one night for fun to photograph the 'cars on a stick.' She seemed to enjoy it, and I thought if it is going to be torn down, I had better get her there before it's gone! If you're hungry afterwards, we found a great pizza place on yelp called Salerno's (3250 Grove Ave). Then again, if you can't find good pizza in Chicagoland, you are not looking too hard! Salerno's is a casual, kid friendly restaurant, with excellent double-dough pizza (not quite deep dish, but certainly not thin crust!). It was a nice night, so the two of us sat outside and enjoyed our pizza (and took most of it home for leftovers, it was so much).

Update: May 12, 2010
Paging through the Chicago Tribune today, I was saddened to come across Dustin Shuler's obituary. He died May 4 at his home in Inglewood, California of pancreatic cancer. I talked to him a few times regarding the Spindle. From what I could tell in talking with him, he wasn't too impressed with the various groups trying to save his sculpture in the Cermak Plaza Shopping Center parking lot. Turns out they weren't very successful; the sculpture came down May 2, 2008. It was placed on eBay, but the auction was unsuccessful. The few times I talked to him, he impressed me as a wonderful man, passionate about his sculptures. He sounded like the stereotypical starving artist! He said if it weren't for his wife supporting him, he'd be living on the street. He told me that at one time, Pizza Hut offered him money to use his Spindle in their ads. Even though it was a substantial amount, he refused. He told me "there's better pizza in Chicago than Pizza Hut!" He was truly all about the art. Maureen O'Donnell had an obituary in the Sun Times here.

Dusty, you and your art will be missed!

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