One of the benefits of the Charlotte School of Law relocating to downtown is the plethora of artistic and cultural objects one can encounter just walking about the city. In this new column, I will discuss an art piece or upcoming event/ show that relates to the downtown or near downtown area.
For this first installment, I present to you the II Grande Disco (Second Large Disk) by internationally renowned artist Arnaldo Parmadoro.
Parmadoro started his artistic career as a theater set designer and gold smith in post WW II Italy. His large, abstract geometrical sculptures are what he is best known for, and his works are on display in major cities and cultural centers throughout the world. As you can tell from the title of the work, the disk that is on display at the Bank of America Plaza is the second example of this particular piece. The first version is on display in Milan, Italy.
The sculpture was commissioned in 1973 by North Carolina National Bank and Carter and Associates, who developed Independence Square plaza. The sculpture was donated to the Charlotte Mint Museum of Art in 1978. In 1980, the sculpture had to be restored because it had been vandalized over the years with magic markers, paint, and had surface scarring. The piece had to be sandblasted and a clear urethane coating applied to protect it. A new bearing was added to the base to allow the sculpture to turn again.
The Grande Disco is perhaps one of my favorite sculptural works that is on public display in Charlotte. Not only is it striking to look at, its position in the heart of the city provides a focal artistic experience. The way the sculpture is reflected in the more sterile glass and steel edifices around it transforms those structures into an extension of the artwork. I also find the contrast of the smooth, polished gold bronze against the geometric pewter color of block and rod-like shapes fascinating. In many ways, Parmadoro’s Grande Disco is a statement about the urban environment and how we interact with that environment. Of course,with art one can draw their own conclusions about its value and meaning.