Best Public Art (2008)

Phoenix Forensics Crime Laboratory

David Caruso would eat his heart out if he were to get a gander at the wild, new public art installation in the lobby of the recently opened Phoenix Forensics Crime Laboratory. Pattern Recognition, described by its creators Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schecter as "a surrealistic chandelier that pays homage to the arts of forensic science," dangles from the lobby ceiling like a drug dealer's bad dream.

The mixed-media sculpture, which measures over 17 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter, incorporates hundreds of stock forensic lab equipment items you've seen a hundred times on CSI: Miami — glass beakers, flasks, test tubes, pipettes, blue Petri dishes — all held together by steel rods and laboratory clamps and decorated with over 130 magnifying glasses. Helmick and Schecter's sense of humor is sprinkled liberally throughout with pop culture references to police work in the piece, including patterns representing a bullet hole, a bullet trajectory, and a film reel, together with artist-made molecular models of drugs, fingerprints, DNA helix strands and various and sundry other chemicals and biological substances (we guess there may even be something approximating the structure of anthrax mixed in for good measure). The only thing this piece is missing is a pair of David Caruso's sunglasses.


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