Best Landmark - 2013
Personnage et oiseaux (Figure and Birds)
The theater district is full of some of Houston's most recognizable landmarks, from Jones Hall and the Alley Theatre to the downtown skyline's tallest building, the JPMorgan Chase Tower. But while it may be dwarfed by the 75-story skyscraper, the sculpture in the plaza by Catalonia-born artist Joan Miró (1893-1983) makes a much cooler calling card. Perhaps a surrealist spin on the 1958 B-movie Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (or perhaps not), the pyramid-based structure of steel and bronze — in red, green, blue, yellow and black — bears a remarkable resemblance to Miró's 1926 painting Personage Throwing a Stone at a Bird and has been dubbed the "Tinker Toy" by employees in the neighboring tower. The building's architect, I.M. Pei, found Personnage et oiseaux an ideal extension of Miró's whimsical nature. "It was Miró's mischievous aspect that appealed to me," he told the media at the building's 1982 dedication, when it was still known as the Texas Commerce Bank Building (and which, sadly, Miró was too ill to attend). "His work is a celebration of life."