Franklin Avenue Station – Public Art – Flechtner
Title: Neon Charms for Franklin Avenue
Artist: Michael R. Flechtner
Material: Two 4’ W X 24’ H X 20” D painted aluminum structures. Lexan plexiglass sheets cover the exterior of the artwork. Neon tubes.
Neon light marquee at the east entrance tower between Franklin Avenue and the platform level. Each side of the marquee has six neon lighted symbols of luck and the word Franklin crisscrosses down the sign between the symbols.
There are many cultures living in the immediate area of this station. In this piece, the neon artist is exploring that in each of these cultures there are notions of good luck and good fortune. Often, luck is associated with an object, symbol, animal or ritual. Luck or good fortune symbols in this piece include, on the north facing side (from top to bottom): an eagle, a Hmong good luck symbol, Babe the Blue Ox, an African good luck symbol, a camel and a four-leaf clover. The south facing side (from top to bottom): Native American image with the four directions, a dragon, a horseshoe, a salmon, a Korean money pouch and a pig.
Born and raised in Ohio, Michael Flechtner primarily works with Neon, or luminous tube, and has exhibited extensively in Southern California.
His works demonstrate a fascination with the symbols of language, technology and its influence on popular culture. Despite his focus on his “inner self” in his art-making processes, he uses luminous tubes to create figures that are recognizable to the broader public through compositions that are aesthetically pleasing. He hopes that through an exchange between himself and the viewers, his works can create a framework for the viewers to find their particular path in life and in the world.
Flechtner was presented the J. Paul Getty Trust Fund Fellowship for the Visual Arts at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. He was also the recipient of Signs of the Times magazine Electric Sign Design Awards (1990), Boticelli Award (1981) and the Ford Foundation Award (1980).
Shotgun Shack, Michael Flechtner
Franklin Avenue Station, and five other stations, originally had paver designs on the platforms created by artist Richard Elliott. Each platform was inspired by artifacts or architectural details found in the Minneapolis/St. Paul communities and were developed by working with museums, community members and curators. The specific designs selected as inspirational starting points were picked for their cultural and historical importance and fall into three groups; native motif, immigrant fabrics and the culture that has developed in Minneapolis as expressed through its architecture. Each platform design stands on its own, but together they make a unified statement about the cultural history of Minneapolis.
Collectively, the artwork is titled, Then Till Now: A History and Culture Based Portrait Of Minneapolis As Expressed Through Six Geometric Platform Designs and originally appeared at Cedar-Riverside, Franklin, 38th Street, 46th Street, VA Medical Center and American Boulevard stations.
Unfortunately, the paver bricks did not hold up well with the severe Minnesota winters and the heavy foot traffic of a transit system. The only remaining paver design exists at American Boulevard Station.