An Update on the Sitting Man Post

This is just an update on my Sitting Man post. I just found a YouTube presentation about the Sitting Man that clearly shows the title inscribed on the side of it was Man on a Bench in 2014. The inscription on the rear was illegible back then. I’m guessing that when the sculptors, Doug Paul and J.B. Barnhouse, moved it last summer from the east side to the west side of Scott Boulevard, they might have altered and refurbished the inscriptions at around the same time.

When we visited the site, the year inscribed on the side was 2013. Other people have described it as being finished in 2015. I’m not sure it matters to the artists. They might see it as a timeless artifact, which they happened to uncover, according to free-lance writer, Lori Erickson.

It reminded me of another sculptor’s work entitled Palimpsest by V. Skip Willits, from my post about the Iowa City Public Art Program. I think it might fit the palimpsest definition: something that’s been reused or altered but still has traces of its earlier form. 

Anyway, back when it was on the other side of Scott Boulevard, it was even harder to access. It was on private land that you had to ask Harvard Preserve permission to enter. In fact, for photographer David Weldon, the path to the sculpture was muddy and difficult to climb in 2015. There was no parking and that is still the case. If you’re not within walking distance, you have to scramble out of your car and grab a quick snapshot while avoiding traffic. And it’s still on private land owned by Harvest Preserve, although now you don’t have to obtain permission to climb the hill.

The artists have said that The Sitting Man was never intended to be called a Buddha, although it’s often called just that. You can make your own interpretation of what it means to you. However, according to Roadside America, Doug Paul has called it “distinctly Iowan.”

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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