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Artist removes his winning 'Paper Clips' sculpture with eyes on Michigan

By: WARREN EPSTEIN
September 7, 2010
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photo - Artist Chris Weed, right, worked Tuesday to remove his sculpture, Red Paper Clips, from outside the Plaza of the Rockies. He said he's moving the sculpture to Grand Rapids, Mich.  Photo by MARK REIS, THE GAZETTE
Artist Chris Weed, right, worked Tuesday to remove his sculpture, Red Paper Clips, from outside the Plaza of the Rockies. He said he's moving the sculpture to Grand Rapids, Mich. Photo by MARK REIS, THE GAZETTE 

Moving around a couple of paper clips.

Sounds easy, right? Not when those paper clips are 23-feet long and weigh several tons.

Artist Chris Weed rented a crane with a 95-foot boom to move his fire-engine red giant “Paper Clips” sculpture from the front of the Plaza of the Rockies on Tuesday.

He didn’t want to. He said he tried to sell them at what he says was a ridiculously discounted price, to anyone who would keep them downtown. He wants $150,000 for the piece but won’t say what his discount was.

 “Nobody took my offer,” he said as he maneuvered one of the bright red giants.

Weed plans to spend $6,000 to enter the piece in ArtPrize, an art contest in Grand Rapids, Mich. The first prize in the contest is $250,000.

“It’s a gamble,” Weed said. “But in my gut, I feel it’ll be worth it.”

The huge paper clips have towered on south Tejon Street since they took first place in the 2009 Art on the Street contest. Most artists remove their pieces after the summer of the competition. But Weed’s pieces tend to be so large, he tries to sell them while they’re in place, which has been tricky.

His askew, distorted giant door, titled “My Surreal World,” just north of the Pikes Peak Center, has been for sale for $50,000 since it took third place in the 2007 Art on the Streets. He plans to move it by December.

“If people think you’ll show your art for free all the time, they’ll never pay for it,” Weed said.

The shame is that he’s loved the placement of those pieces: the door on a small mound, with Pikes Peak in the background, the paper clips in front of a brick skyscraper that happens to house the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak region.

From her first floor office, COPPeR executive director Bettina Swigger looked like she was going to cry as she watched the crane taking down “Paper Clips.”

“ We probably know more than anybody the joy these have brought to people,” she said.

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