I like the cherry.
I like the cherry.
Aaaah. It looks delicious!
The big spoon with the cherry on it. The cherry is the fountain.
I wanted to see the cherry.
And it’s amazing, it’s completely amazing. We’re blown away.
Um the ch ch the spoon and the art.
The cherry, like you can’t stop looking at it.
I like the cherry.
Narrator: But there are a few critics.
But I would like a beer on top of there instead of a cherry maybe. You know people like their own things. The first thing that comes to mind is a beer, but maybe something other than a cherry. How about ice cream? Why not ice cream? We’re the land of 10,000 lakes and there’s a new ice cream, there’s a poster that says “Land of 10,000 Lakes Ice Cream” so maybe you could an ice cream cone on top of there or something, anything. But a cherry? We don’t even have that many cherries here. But why a cherry? We have cherries here but you don’t think of Minnesota and think of cherries, you think of fish and lakes. Why don’t we have a fork?
Narrator: And some people have other ideas about it
It looks like we’re in a postcard. Oh I feel like I’ve seen postcards for the state of Minnesota. It also looks like you’re eating the last bite of cherry pie, like that’s what it makes me think of. It’s the last bite… It’s very folksy to have like something that whimsical in a sculpture garden I think, it’s flamingly Midwestern. And it’s cherry pie, it’s American, it’s a big spoon. I don’t know there’s something about it that evokes midwesterny, Midwestern comfort, folksy-ness I guess.
Narrator: Even though the Spoonbridge and Cherry has become a Minnesota icon, with lots of people mentioning pictures and postcards, it pays to see it in person:
I’d always seen postcards of the big cherry on the spoon, and I thought in my head that it was enormous sitting over this big lake. And we came here today I still was very captivated by the color and the form and the cherry being balanced. Needless to say the size of the pond isn’t really a great enormous lake, so that was kind of funny.
I didn’t realize that there was a fountain with the spoon and the cherry. I guess I never noticed that in other pictures.
Yeah I never noticed it either.
Narrator: And what about those pictures?
My camera and my computer are probably clogged with a lot of the Spoonbridge… I took a picture of my friend biting it today, not actually biting it, pretend.
Narrator: The spoon is repainted in place,
…but the cherry, there is a little access hatch on the bottom that when inside there’s kind of like a mounting plate with a number of rods and bolts, and it just seats down and bolts to the spoon, so someone gets in there, they rig the stem with a crane, and then unbolt all the bolts, unhook the lines, the water lines, and then basically lift it off. Who ever’s in there stays in there as it gets picked up and lowered down, and then they can get out once they’re down, because once it comes off, it’s free swinging and you wouldn’t be able to get out that access hole to a lift because the cherry would probably swing into the lift, so you’re pretty much in there. The actual painting of it, the cherry’s pretty complex because it’s not just a matter of a sandblasting or something like that. They take it all the way down to the metal and then it has to be built back up with layers of like a bondo material. And the hardest thing on that is getting it smooth and sanding it. They have to make specific contoured sanding blocks to follow the contours of the cherry to get it smooth. And so there’s a lot of prep that goes on, and then after they’ve got it down, then they shoot primer, then it gets a couple coats of paint and then a couple coats of clear coat.
Narrator: David Fisher, who served as Minneapolis Park and Recreation Superintendent from 1981 to 1999, visited New York with then Walker director Martin Friedman and remembers his first glimpse of the Spoonbridge and Cherry:
Martin had commissioned Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen to do this sculpture for the main part of the garden. I had seen some of Claes and Coosje’s stuff before, and I kept thinking o.k. this is a public park, and I’m worried about what the public image of this thing might be, not that might not be pretty but it might not be suitable. So, here we go, we fly off to New York City, and we’re going to see the sculpture that Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have designed for the very first time. Here we are, and I mean I am nervous as hell, I am starting to sweat right now just thinking about how it was in that room. And here walks Claes in with a little cardboard box that he’d just taped together. And he has his flannel shirt on and he puts down the box in the middle of the table, and like unveiling a pheasant under glass he picked the box up, and Martin says, “Oh my god is that gorgeous, that is gorgeous!” Everybody in the room is going “That is gorgeous!” and he said, “David what do you think?” and I said well, you know, just being an old practical park guy but it looked like a spoon with a cherry on top to me. And Martin says, “Oh no, you’ve missed it.” And I said “I did? Well, tell me what’s missing!” He said, “Well, If you look at it in a certain way,” so he moves me over to that certain way, and he says, “It looks like the prow of a Viking ship.” A Viking ship! Yeah, yeah, I see it! And to this day when I walk into that little green spot next to the rabbit, I look at the spoon and the cherry, and it in fact it does occur to me that it is a Viking ship. You just have to have the right attitude, you know, you have to look at it in the right way. So, they did capture what I think is the essence of Minnesota.