Xochitl Pena, The Desert Sun
Some people will love them. Some people will hate them.
Either way, the gigantic 8-foot-tall babies that take four or five men to carry are guaranteed to elicit some type of reaction once they’re unveiled in downtown Palm Springs, crawling behind The Rowan.
Judging by the conversation on Facebook so far, this is going to be the next biggest must-see, must-photograph art installation since "Forever Marilyn," before she left to make way for the downtown revitalization project.
"The 10 Babies," created by rebel Czech Republic artist David Černý, are currently in storage behind the Rowan Hotel in an underground sandpit where residential units will eventually be built part of Grit Development’s downtown project. But until construction begins, the "Babies" will be set up in this area, in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum, so people looking down into the pit – especially from the hotel’s rooftop – will see them crawling about.
“We’re not in this to win a popularity contest but we want to create something that people will remember. Something that touches people, that will stay with them,” said Christian Hohmann, owner of Hohmann Fine Art Gallery in Palm Desert who helped secure the artwork. “Of course there will be ignorant people that will not care, but hopefully it will bring people to downtown to see it in person.”
The "Babies" are on loan to Grit Development for 20 months. Prior to their arrival in Palm Springs, these particular infants were last on display in Prague crawling up the side of the Zizvok Television Tower.
The sculptures will be unveiled to the public on June 5, the same day as the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce luncheon, during which Michael Braun, president of Grit Development, will be recognized as businessman of the year.
Braun said they haven’t decided on a name for the exhibit yet, but it could be along the lines of “Babies on the Move” or “Moving Babies” because they will be rearranged periodically. Černý, who has been to Palm Springs a couple of times to see the space, has provided a template for how he wants the "Babies" arranged. They are made of fiberglass with a steel frame and it takes several men to move each one.
At some point they could be re-positioned to appear as though they are climbing up the side of the sandpit or be placed elsewhere in the downtown.
“Some people hate the "Babies," some people like the "Babies." That will create a conversation topic and people will want to see them. I think they look fabulous, personally,” said Braun.
It was the same story with "Forever Marilyn," which is expected to return to the downtown project once it’s complete. Some people loved the kitschy statue, taking the opportunity to stand below her billowing skirt for photos. Others were appalled.