Untitled (Jazz Musicians) by John Spaulding

TITLE: Untitled (Jazz Musicians)
ARTIST: John Spaulding
DATE: 1995
DIMENSIONS: 8.5′ x 19′ x 19′
TYPE: sculpture

Untitled (Jazz Musicians) (1995) is one of two sculptures found at IUPUI by native Indy artist John Spaulding (1942-2004). A tribute to the legendary heritage of jazz and performance along Indiana Avenue, each of the five figures represents an actual Indianapolis jazz musician: the guitarist is Spaulding’s father; the saxophonist is his brother, noted musician James Spaulding; the bassist is Larry Ridley; the trumpeter is Freddie Hubbard; and the drummer is ‘Killer Ray’ Appleton.

In May 2011, the figure representing James Spaulding was broken off at the knees and stolen. The sculpture also suffered several other cuts. A local newspaper reported on June 13, 2011, that police recovered the piece after it was brought to a scrap yard for sale after someone had discovered it in a trash bin.

Vandalism is always a risk for public sculpture, but this particular incident might allow us to think about other forms of vandalism and dispossession that afflicted the jazz musicians of Indiana Avenue, along with their communities, over time, on a more systemic scale.

To learn more about this artwork, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Untitled_(Jazz_Musicians), which includes information created by Herron School of Art and Design and IUPUI Museum Studies faculty and students in 2009 as part of “A Survey of IUPUI Public Art.”