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John Massee, Esperanza Bar

On view in the West Garden

sculpture garden 2020

John Massee
born 1951 Washington, D.C.; lives Santa Fe, New Mexico
Esperanza Bar
galvanized steel
Albuquerque Museum, museum purchase, 1993 General Obligation Bond

Two abstract figures are seen marching past each other on top of what appears to be a massive pedestal. Esperanza Bar is in fact a functional sculpture, complete with louvered panels that open on all four sides and a central grill which sends exiting smoke up through one of the figure’s mouths. John Massee’s eclectic and humorous sculptures seem to break the rules of sculpture, many of them are meant to be used, others move via remote control, and some have figures with interchangeable heads. Esperanza Bar is part of a series of sculptures created while Massee was contemplating basic human needs: water, food, shelter, toilets, love, joy. His belief that sculpture has the power to transfer a sense of magic and wonder is revealed through his engaging works.