Bill Tonnesen's Sculptural Oddities at Casa Carmel Apartments in Tempe
One of two prominent sculptures at Casa Carmel.
If you've driven north on Rural Road toward Broadway in the past five months, you might have seen something strange on the side of the road: Namely, giant silver sculptures that look like those robot performance artists in New York's Times Square.
The Casa Carmel apartments are located at 2222 S. Rural Road, and were constructed in 1963. And last September, the revamping of the 20-unit, garden-style apartments (Tonnesen-style) began.
His decorations include a rustic metal canister sculpture, complete with an axe that has "Tonnesen" written on the handle, a strange sign featuring a woman holding an altered photo of the Mona Lisa, and two life-size silver statues.
She's up on a platform facing Rural Road, with an stack of concrete blocks jutting out at various angles below her. It's a dubious display that could be symbolic of anything from the Virgin Mary praying to a beggar nodding out on heroin.
Artistic reprieve can be found in the complex's entrance sign, designed by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, and black-and-white pieces that hang outside every unit's door.
Note to would-be renters: The complex is currently full.
The man on the roof at Casa Carmel
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