For years, one of the attractions of Beachside Avenue — besides the beautiful homes, enormous lawns and sweeping views of Long Island Sound — has been a quirky sculpture of a typewriter eraser.
The work — “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” by noted sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen — stands 19 feet, 3 inches tall, and weighs 10,300 pounds. Enormous blue bristles project from a tilting red wheel.
It was commissioned in the late 1990s by Westporters Sam and Ronnie Heyman. It’s a limited edition piece. Others are in Seattle, Las Vegas, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
The Heymans went to California to see their artwork fabricated. It traveled cross-country in a flatbed truck, before being installed — very trickily, atop a subterranean 12-foot concrete base — on the couple’s front lawn.
For two decades “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” amused, entertained and enthralled everyone who drove or jogged by.
Now it’s gone.
But it will be unveiled next month in a new location: the outdoor entrance plaza to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.
That’s fitting. The museum will feature an exhibition of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s work. Much of it focuses on office equipment — including typewriters and erasers.
In fact, the Heymans’ sculpture proved an inspiration for the exhibit. Ronnie Heyman is a Norton trustee.
Plenty of people enjoyed the enormous eraser on Beachside Avenue.
But many, many more will see it in its next home, outside a museum in Florida.
The big question is: How many visitors actually know what a typewriter eraser was?
(Hat tip: Seth Schachter. He spotted an article about the sculpture in the Wall Street Journal. Click here to read the full story.)