What's the deal with IKEA's 'penis' sculpture?

The strange phallic structure that stood wrapped in front of the Burbank IKEA for two weeks was finally exposed to the public on Friday.

UCLA art professor and artist Christian Moeller created the 16-foot-tall piece dubbed "Bobble." On Friday Burbank city officials and IKEA officials gathered near the store's entrance on San Fernando Boulevard to reveal the city's 100th art installation that is part of Burbank's Art in Public Places ordinance.

There's an ordinance for that?

The base of the sculpture is orange and white, with the neck of the "vase" drooping forward. There's a yellow ball sticking out of the top that moves around freely in the wind.

IKEA Burbank store manager Jeff O’Shaughnessy said:

"I’m a fan of public art, and I think it’s a beautiful piece. I like the fact that it’s wind-driven, and I think the colors are beautiful."

Robert Grimsley, the real estate manager for IKEA North America said Moeller was chosen because of his numerous public art pieces installed across the country:

"Art can challenge our expectations and our imagination in a new way. Our art was inspired by floral motifs resembling a highly abstract giant vase. It appears as a large free-standing figure, playful and open for multiple readings.”

So, what's the deal with Burbank's Art in Public Places ordinance? The city of Burbank mandates that 1% of the cost for a major project has to go toward an art piece at the site, or be put into the city's Public Art Fund.

Marisa Garcia, assistant director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said that the project was approved in January and cost IKEA $360,000.


She told the L.A. Times:

“I do not disagree with people being upset with the image it conjured in your mind, but I think that now that it’s been unveiled, my hope is that they look at it differently and appreciate it as art. If they like it, that’s fantastic, but if they don’t, that’s OK.”

Click here to read more at the L.A. Times.

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