Field of Corn (with Osage Oranges) is the third installations in Dublin's Art in Public Places collection. The sculpture includes 109 human-sized (6 ft. 3 in. or 1.9 m) tall ears of corn that stand upright in realistic row patterns. The installation symbolizes the history of the community’s farming legacy and serves as a memorial to rural landscapes. The project was commissioned by the Dublin Art in Public Places program of the Dublin Arts Council through a juried competition to develop a significant work of art for the small park, owned by the City of Dublin. The proposal from Columbus, Ohio artist Malcolm Cochran, a professor of sculpture at the Ohio State University, was chosen.
Field of Corn (with Osage Oranges) stands in a highly visible field that was once farmed by Sam Frantz, a leader in the use of hybridized corn. Frantz’s widow, Eulalia Frantz, attended the dedication of the sculpture, with their daughter and son. With support of the Dublin Historical Society, the site has now been named Frantz Park.
The artist first visited the site in July 1993, noting a short row of mature Osage Orange trees plantings which, at one time, would have extended for miles. The link to the not-so-distant farming past of the site led the artist to propose a field of human-sized ears of corn. After the design was accepted, Cochran learned the site had been occupied and used by the Frantz family.
Field of Corn (with Osage Oranges) was dedicated Oct. 30, 1994. DETAILS: The sculpture’s medium is white architectural precast concrete. There were three full-sized prototypes created, each with different kernel patterns, from which molds were made. Finished ears were rotated to provide a variety of orientations so that an observer is hard pressed to find any matching kernel patterns. Casting took place at a concrete manufacturer in the State of Georgia and were delivered to the Ohio site in four truckloads for installation. Each ear of corn weighs 1500 lbs. (680 kg.) The foundation for each ear is a 3 ft. (0.9 m) deep concrete-filled hole. According to a 1995 article in the concrete trade magazine PCI Journal, “From a distance, the field of corn ears resembles the regimented grave markers of a military cemetery. The artist has used this symbolism to represent the death and rebirth of individuals and society. It is intended, Cochran says, to remind us of our heritage, to commemorate the passing of an agrarian way of life, and in the process of looking back gives us pause to think about where we are heading – all the while maintaining a sense of joy in the present.”
Field of Corn (with Osage Oranges) by Columbus sculptor Malcolm Cochran has received “Best of Columbus” honors by readers of Columbus Monthly magazine each year of its nomination since 2008, including four #1 awards as best public artwork in central Ohio.