James Tyler’s Tower of East Cambridge Faces Holds Power Over Time

My recent post about James Tyler’s Ten Figures in Davis Square led me to search out and visit his fourteen-foot tower of fifty bronze portraits completed in 1986.

“Tyler’s intention to capture in bronze the diverse culture of East Cambridge is realized in the rich collection of distinct images and textures that make up his sculpture. Fifty faces of area residents — randomly assembled from photographs taken in the neighborhood by the artist — comprise this ‘tower’ of faces.” ( quote from Cambridge Public Art Fact Sheet)

My current preoccupation with pandemic restrictions made me especially aware of the physical closeness of the diverse faces (young and old) and how many mouths were slightly open as though breathing, speaking, or singing (and in at least one case smoking). I felt gratefully welcome to be with them. Now knowing that Tyler had originally created his Davis Square sculptures from cast fondu cement, I could appreciate how the material and structure helped the distinctive characters in this tower persevere.

To locate and learn more about this monument, go to Cambridge Public Art Map 12 Fact Sheet 05. I  hope to revisit them often.

To learn about James Tyler’s direction and development, go to his website TylerSculpture.com.

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