February 10 - 16, 2005 (Front page)
By: Kim Muhhamad, Denver Weekly News Writer
The drive past the City Park golf course became more scenic Feb. 7 when a head turning piece of public art was installed near 25th and York Street. The display, commissioned by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, includes an outline of two heads whose brain areas are filled with multiple human shaped figures. One head is very large and positioned upright, and the other is smaller and lying horizontally.
Douglas Kornfeld is the artist who created the work and says it has a message tailored specifically for that City Park Neighborhood. For years, he has had an interest in artistically working with everyday symbols such as those generally found on restroom doors. Such forms have become easily recognizable and standard in American culture. Kornfeld, however, does not think these types of figures reflect the variety and nonconformity that exist, so he has created his own series of symbols which represent the diversity found in today’s society.
When he learned that the golf course was the first in Colorado to allow non-Whites to participate, he decided to combine that historic information with the artistic message of his collection of symbols. That, along with seeing how the neighborhood and golf course have become racially diverse, became the inspiration for his work, which he has titled “Meeting of Minds.” “The [large] head I developed came from the profile of this incredibly beautiful [African American] model,” he said. “In her head, where her mind would be, I put all my figures to symbolize that we all have different ideas and think and look different.”
He painted the figures red so as not to restrict them to representing a particular race or ethnicity. The outer facial border, which is dark brown, clearly portrays the full lips that are a common trait of Blacks. The woman’s head is facing west to symbolize her looking toward York Street and the neighborhood, rather than facing the golf course. “I wanted a head that was very recognizable.” Kornfeld told DWN. “I wanted her facing out looking into the community that is going to see this for a long time.”
The smaller head, which is positioned horizontally, represents a racially unidentifiable male, and contains standard restroom figures aligned in straight rows and identical in shape. This is in contrast to the figures found in the larger head which are not place in any particular order.
Kornfeld wanted the smaller head to represent the old way of regimented thinking ands narrow mindedness that at one time limited the golf course and neighborhood to being for Whites only. Half of this male head is absent to give the impression that it is sinking into the ground, signifying the death of the old mentality.
He wanted the woman’s head to stand out so he made sure it was large enough to cause people to take a second look, since most first glances would be from drivers speeding down the busy street. His hope is that those motorists will be moved by the striking image and return to take a closer look at the piece of art meant to speak volumes.
The Denver native currently resides in Massachusetts but traveled to the city for the installation of his piece. He is scheduled to return Friday, April 22, when at 3:00 p.m., a formal dedication of his work will take place.
Download PDF of original article: Denver Weekly News 5-10-05