The monumental new sculpture Rocket by Hubert Phipps has been selected for an Art in Public Places initiative in South Florida, at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC), the historic tech landmark where the first IBM Personal Computer was invented. This new public art program is part of a cultural partnership between the Boca Raton Museum of Art and CP Group, the owner of BRiC and a premier developer and operator of commercial real estate. South Florida officials are welcoming Rocket as one of the largest outdoor sculptures ever chosen for a public art initiative in Palm Beach County. The Phipps sculpture is valued at $1.5 million, stands 30-feet tall, weighs 9.8 tons, and took more than 2,200 square feet of stainless steel to construct. The Rocket sculpture towers alongside a waterfront panorama of iconic architecture designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1960s. This celebrated architectural style by Breuer is rarely seen at this grand of a scale, spanning so many acres. The new sculpture by Phipps and the historic buildings designed by Breuer marry each other well in the Brutalist style, creating a powerful visual impact.
“The sculpture by Hubert Phipps was conceived as that intersection between art and science, and celebrates the heroics of modern engineering, as also seen in Marcel Breuer’s historic building designs for IBM’s North American Research and Development Headquarters,” said Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The gleaming, stainless steel reflecting Rocket was two years in the making, with a nod to Sci Fi retro futurism. The Campus encourages visitors to walk around and underneath it, to enjoy their funhouse mirror images on the shiny surface.
The nationally acclaimed artist Hubert Phipps was also a champion race car driver (National Champion in the SCCA 1981 Formula Atlantic) and is commemorating his upcoming 50th anniversary as an aviator. Phipps often pilots his Airbus Helicopter H-120 down to Palm Beach from his artist studio in Virginia. The Phipps family were early pioneers of Palm Beach, and adventures in aviation are a longtime tradition for the family ‒ one of his ancestors, Amy Phipps Guest, was one of the first women aviators back in the 1920s. She championed Amelia Earhart’s successful transoceanic flight in 1928. Amy yearned to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, but her protective family insisted on selecting Amelia Earhart in her place. Amy sponsored that historic flight, and welcomed Amelia when she landed in the U.K. Amy was prominent as a women's suffragist, and an influential aviation enthusiast. The location of the new sculpture, BRiC, also has a special mark on history. Now owned and managed by CP Group, BRiC is where the first IBM personal computer was invented, the first smartphone, early robotics technology, and other tech marvels. The state-of-the-art, 1.7 million square foot office park is a magnet today for forward thinkers in technology and life sciences.