Bill Tonnesen
Bill Tonnesen
photo by Jamie Peachey

A Look at the Life and Controversial Work of Landscape Architect Bill Tonnesen

Bill Tonnesen's work is recognizable. The Phoenix-based landscape architect constructs large, often-grotesque human sculptures (most are covered in white or metallic hues) and compulsively organized habitats for residential and commercial projects throughout Phoenix.

This week, Phoenix New Times contributor and author of our running column, Surreal Estate, Robrt Pela takes a look at Tonnesen's work, future projects, and legacy in Phoenix.

See also: - Illusions of Grandeur: He's done with art. Now Bill Tonnesen wants to build a Holocaust memorial in Phoenix - Landscape Architect Bill Tonnesen Gets the Republic Treatment - Bill Tonnesen's Sculptural Oddities at Casa Carmel Apartments in Tempe

A Look at the Life and Controversial Work of Landscape Architect Bill Tonnesen
The flour mill, shown with just Tonnesen's sculptures and none of the city-approved student art intended for the space.

Pela writes:

Bill Tonnesen would like to control everything. And it's that fact -- perhaps more than the work he does and certainly more than his peculiar, often off-putting personality -- that has stood in the way of the immortality that Tonnesen's friends and colleagues say he's really after.

Toward that end, Tonnesen -- who previously has attempted fame as a contemporary artist and courted infamy as a Holocaust activist -- apparently has decided to completely revamp Tempe in his image.

Read the entire profile in this week's print issue of New Times or online in "Bill Tonnesen, Contentious Tempe Developer, Aims for Immortality".

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