Attraction Overview

by Rinaldo Paluzzi — Madrid, Spain (1927-2013)

Totem, is a public artwork by American-Spanish artist Rinaldo Paluzzi, located in Celebration Plaza.  The sculpture is made of stainless steel and is a triangular shaped vertical “tube” with triangular and trapezoidal cut-outs in the steel.  The piece sits centered atop a concrete circle, 40 feet in diameter, with a sundial face.  The piece was constructed in 1982 and dedicated November 9 1982.  It was copyrighted 1983.

More about the Artist:

Rinaldo Paluzzi died at the age of 85 on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  An internationally-known artist, he was perhaps best recognized in Indiana for his 1982 work Totem, a 32 x 5 x 5 foot steel sculpture which stands sentinel in White River State Park a few hundred yards from his alma mater (IUPUI Herron School of Art + Design).

According to the Herron Chronicle, Paluzzi, a native of Greensburg, PA, graduated in 1957 with an M.F.A. degree and a “top $2,000 Tiffany grant.”  Since the Tiffany grant could be used without restrictions, Paulzzi, his wife, Claudine Kelsey Paluzzi, whom he met at Herron, and their three young daughters used the money to partially pay for a year in Italy.  Upon their return, Gallery 1444, just two blocks from Herron, devoted a show to “all 65 of the paintings” he had finished during that year.  Wes Montgomery, undiscovered at the time, played “Jazz in the Gallery.”

Paluzzi’s works are in dozens of permanent collections, from the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian to the Union Fenosa Museum of Contemporary Art in Coruna, Spain.

According to its website, Indianapolis Museum of Art showed his work three times between 1963 and 1974.

Upon learning of Paluzzi’s passing, Robert Whitt, the Executive Director of White River State Park, said “I am saddened by the passing of Rinaldo Paluzzi.  His Totem sculpture is an iconic landmark, and an enduring legacy, at White River State Park.  It will continue to be enjoyed by scores of visitors from throughout Indiana, the nation, and the world.”

A Vimeo posting of Paluzzi in his studio is available at http://vimeo.com/63455221.