Duck preens in hideaway for debut at Point
Lord, love a duck!
What's arguably the biggest international celebrity ever to visit Pittsburgh makes its entrance with an air of mystery: Where do you hide a four-story-tall, three-story-wide inflatable Rubber Duck?
The installation piece, produced by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, will make its first U.S. appearance as guest of honor at The Rubber Duck Bridge Party from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday.
The duck's arrival marks the start of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. The duck will be on view through Oct. 20 near Point State Park.
Avoiding paparazzi at its secret nest, Rubber Duck handlers are prepping for the debut.
“It should take between 15 and 22 minutes to fully inflate,” said the Trust's Paul Organisak. “A recent dry run took 23 minutes.”
The duck will be launched, fully inflated at an undisclosed location downriver from the West End Bridge. It won't travel through the Emsworth Locks and Dam, Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Dan Jones said.
A tugboat will escort it up the Ohio and Allegheny rivers to its launch party.
Hofman deflects questions about the duck's meaning or message:
“What does it mean for you?” he said. “An artwork should always communicate to you as a viewer. I've been working on the project for 12 years. I have many, many thoughts. When we are living on one planet, all global waters become your bathtub.”
The duck joins people together, makes them happy and reminds them of their childhoods, Hofman suggested. “It's about looking, viewing, seeing things in new ways and being amazed.”
Since 2007, versions of the duck have appeared in cities, including Sydney, Sao Paulo, Amsterdam and Hong Kong. Pittsburgh will be its last appearance before the international Rubber Duck Project migrates to a three-month hiatus.
Each city's duck is custom-built under Hofman's supervision.
For Pittsburgh, Inflatable Images in Brunswick, Ohio, made the inflatable PVC Duck that will roost on a 14,000-pound pontoon, constructed by Western Pennsylvania Steel Fabricating in New Castle.
A team of bodyguards will offer 24-hour security.
Past ducks have been as large as 85 feet tall, more than twice the size of the Pittsburgh duck. Hofman said the Trust restricted the height to 40 feet so it would fit under the Fort Duquesne and West End bridges.
“It's a charming, funny thing,” said John Frazier, of Washington, who saw the duck in Hong Kong, where Frazier was studying.
“What drew me was the novelty of seeing the Hong Kong skyline with this Duck in the water,” Frazier said. “The giant rubber duck, this bastion of opaque yellow dye, is all things to all people.”
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police say burglars caught in the act in Beechview
- Owner of Italian Village Pizza stores in Western Pennsylvania gets house arrest for tax evasion
- Allegheny County assistant public defender Capone charged with lying to court staff
- Pittsburgh cracks down on overcrowded houses
- NTSB: Better oversight needed to prevent natural gas pipeline accidents
- Water service restored in Brentwood
- W.Va. natural gas line explodes near Ohio border
- Holocaust Center could be ready for move to Greenfield in June
- Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh nearly doubles goal with $230M pledged in largest fundraiser
- Alcosan to hold public meetings on plans to reduce sewage flow into rivers during storms
- Mt. Lebanon High School to sell its planetarium equipment