I got the Gladstone part right

This pylon-monument-sculture made me wonder what it was all about. It stands in a park next to the Walter Stewart Library in East York and looked to me like something Gerald Gladstone might have done.


Gladstone’s welded rods and cutout shapes are recognizable enough but I never would have guessed that it represents a galaxy in space.

My uninformed guess was a Gladstonian shark swimming right through the stolid uprightness of Toronto’s cultural aspirations in the 1950s. OK … I do believe my guess is close to truth and Gladstone’s more grandiose metaphor was a sell-job for patrons eager to get in on the space age.


This is from the Toronto Public Library web site:

This pylon was described by Gladstone as “a physical statement by an artist on a philosophical problem. The concrete represents the space that our galaxy hangs in – the bronze part represents the galaxy – the lights represent energy within it. The whole piece is based on circles and straight lines.” The sculpture was commissioned in 1960 by the East York Public Library Board and is now the property of the City of Toronto.

It has lights? I wonder if they still work.

I like looking at such public works of art, partly, I admit, the way people like pop music from their youth. I never liked Gladstone’s stuff, actually, but I appreciate it now as a reminder of a naive, earnest Canada trying ever so hard to be modern and sophisticated.

Have we changed very much, or do we just dress differently now?

4 thoughts on “I got the Gladstone part right”

  1. Interesting – I see the shark explanation quite clearly once you mention it. But I was hoping for a link to some other Gladstone pieces to broaden my horizon. …Lazy Fan

    • Dear Lazy Fan,
      If you click the Gerald Gladstone link (first paragraph, bold), you will find a number of links to photos of his work at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry.
      HTH 🙂

  2. This sculpture has always reminded me of an airplane crashing into a wall. After 9-11 it didn’t seem so funny anymore.

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