Siouxland Observer

Research, Education, Links and Opinion

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Assemblage art. Go figure.

At first glance it seems to have come from somewhere underground. A pipe, perhaps. Or maybe it is a broken water main that sprang up from a sewer. Something from the waterworks deep underground.

Nope. Some of the parts came from Port Neal Power Plant, the blade-like propeller on the back, for example. A piece of something from deep in the turbines of the coal powered steam plant.

And the U-shaped shaft is an old pipe that was sitting around damaged and unused. It was put together with the Port Neal turbine to form something, but what?

Whatever it is, it was handmade right here in Sioux City, and can be see on Morningside Avenue in east Morningside.

It’s there at night too, sometimes all lit up. Sometimes not. But whatever you do, you’ve got to see the thing.

Just get on Morningside Avenue and take a right at the Citgo gas station at the east end of Morningside. There are other things to see at 5845 Morningside Avenue as well. An unusual hanging piece of bright orange plastic, for example, that’s fashioned after "The Gates" by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which ran for miles in New York’s Central Park.



Yes, you have to use your imagination, but that’s where the Lakeport artist gleaned his inspiration.

And the pipe thing? It must be art too. For surely it is not a part of the city’s water works. It didn’t just spring out the ground. And that’s what the man who built it said.

“It's Art," Mr. Seubert said one afternoon, "Assemblage art.”

A retired tree surgeon, Seubert is sometimes seen tinkering around his place. Drivers in east Morningside are sometimes invited to pick up items that have been discarded. “Free,” the sign along the road advises us.

But it’s the assemblage art that gets you thinking. And on the nights the Port Neal artwork is all aglow, it always feels festive—if not incongruent. For you never really know what you are looking at for sure.

According to the Free Dictionary, a website at www.thefreeditionary.com, assemblage is an art term used to describe many different art forms, and movements. The most prominent being collage.

Collage, as a technique, was used by many different art groups since the beginning of the modern age. Including cubism. An assemblage can be made of paper, photos, or even 3-dimensional objects.

There are many Assemblage Art websites that look a lot like junk yards. Today, junk art is a modern movement. The interesting thing about the piece on Morningside Avenue is it obviously isn’t junk. Or is it?

A breeze blows, and down from the Port Neal artwork, the orange fabric of Seubert’s take on Christo’s gates flutters in the wind.

“That’s just cardboard tubing,” Seubert said pointing to the gate itself. And you can almost imagine yourself in Central Park. But this is Siouxland, and right next door is something called "assemblage art."

Ckeck it out.