Simple Logic cut down after four years

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An excited crowd gathered around Simple Logic yesterday to watch and take pictures of two men from Facilities Management cut down the wooden sculpture with chainsaws.

Anne Harris, chair of the art department, said that especially after the severe ice storm a few weeks ago, 4-year-old Simple Logic —which was only supposed to last 2 years — has fallen into disrepair and was ready to be retired.

“I thought it went fantastic — it was exciting! It had drama,” Harris commented after the first cut. “And, there were a lot of people here which seems to be rare at DePauw sometimes.” 

Built in 2007 by artist Patrick Daugherty with the help of students and faculty, the sculpture was funded by the Butler Family Foundation, which “is committed to supporting the acquisition of contemporary sculpture created by emerging artists of promise and established artists of note” for DePauw’s campus. Art students helped the artist collect branches, and students and faculty helped to put the sculpture together.

Harris and Lori Miles, a professor in the art department who helped to bring the sculpture to campus, both spoke shortly about the sculpture’s history and meaning to them. After their farewells, it took the men about five minutes until one of the five parts of the sculpture fell. 

“It was actually harder than we thought — it was all twined together pretty well,” said Rob Harper, assistant director of Facilities Management and one of the men who helped cut down the sculpture. 

Once the first part came down, the chainsaws were put away and on-lookers were allowed to take pieces from the sculpture to keep as souvenirs while children took advantage of the new terrain and played on the pile of branches. 

“I thought it was good — it was meaningful,” said senior Katia Satterfield, who watched the ceremony and stayed to grab a branch to keep. “It was community–oriented, and that was the whole idea of the project.” 

Satterfield didn’t help build the sculpture when she was a freshman, but liked having it on campus. 

“I thought the [column] in the paper was a little harsh,” Satterfield said . “I expected it would come down when it was time, and I know the ice storm hit it really hard. But if it stayed up, I don’t think it would be an eyesore or anything.” 

Simple Logic was the second sculpture donated by the Butler Family Foundation. It followed the first, Fits and Starts — a life-size sculpture of a deer in mid-leap completely encrusted in rhinestone crystals — within a year, after Fits and Starts was removed campus because of vandalism in 2007. Fits and Starts was repaired and placed on the second floor of Peeler Art Center in 2008.

“Many people have asked me if something will replace [Simple Logic],” said Harris in an interview before Friday’s ceremony.

“But I think that people’s curiosity, you know, like asking ‘What’s coming next,’ indicates that public sculpture is alive and well at DePauw.” Harris said. “And that’s exciting. It is something we all can share.” 

As the crowd dissipated, the area was surrounded by caution tape. The sculpture will disappear over the next few days, and the branches used to make it will be turned into mulch to be used around campus. 

“Now that we took the one down we’re not sure how safe it is,” Harper said. “We’re going to start tomorrow morning and see how far we get.”

Harper predicts it will take a week or two for the site to be completely rid of the sculpture, and longer for East College lawn to completely grow over the dirt foundation.