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Artist Could Have Say in Marlins Park Sculpture’s Fate

Red Grooms sculpture, Marlins Park

Any effort to remove a colorful home run sculpture from Marlins Park could be stopped by artist Red Grooms, who would like to see it remain at the ballpark. 

New Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter is not believed to be a fan of Homer, the colorful sculpture by Grooms that has been in the ballpark since its opening in 2012. While Jeter has yet to publicly confirm that he would like it to be removed, discussions about whether it will remain at Marlins Park have reportedly taken place, and Jeter could have help from Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez in the effort to take it out of the ballpark.

The sculpture is owned by Miami-Dade County as part of its public art program. According to the terms that allowed it to be installed at Marlins Park, Grooms–a friend of former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria–could disavow the work if it is moved, effectively causing it to lose its value. County director of cultural affairs Michael Spring says that officials could work with Grooms to move the sculpture to another county-owned location. Grooms, for his part, would like to see the sculpture stay in its intended spot at Marlins Park, but acknowledges that there are “powerful forces at work here.” More from The Miami Herald:

Spring said he’s been pitching the benefit of moving Homer from a for-profit ballpark charging for tickets to a public space open to all. Rather than turning on when a Marlin hits a home run, Homer could activate on a schedule — with the potential of tourists and residents turning out to snap selfies during the show.

“The interesting thing about the artwork is there’s not really any baseball imagery, except if you knew the imagery of the fish were marlins,” Spring said. “It does potentially lend itself to a new context.”

For Grooms, moving the sculpture would remove the whole concept behind Homer, which he crafted to be part of the ballpark. “It was designed to celebrate home runs, and just have some fun,” he said. “But I have to be realistic. There are some powerful forces at work here.”

Spring finds himself in an awkward position. An admirer of Grooms, he sees “Homer” as an important piece in the county’s collection of public art. His boss, Gimenez, has publicly said of the sculpture: “I’m not a fan.” Now Spring is the one charged with the delicate task of convincing Grooms to consent to moving his sculpture from its designated, county-sanctioned home.

Jeter and Bruce Sherman are part of an ownership group that purchased the Marlins last fall for $1.2 billion.

Image courtesy Miami Marlins.

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