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Mid-Century Monster.

Mid-Century Monster

Field review by the editors.

Oakland, California

Sometimes it's difficult to gauge what will capture the hearts of a community. Mid-Century Monster, for example... when it was built in 1952 it was just a nameless, 40-foot-long piece of chartreuse-colored blob-art, designed by local art professor Bob Winston as an outdoor sculpture for kids to climb on.

By 1968 it was considered visually groovy enough that Sly and the Family Stone posed on it for their "Dance to the Music" album cover -- but after that it sank into a long period of neglect. The sculpture was eventually fenced off from the public, bleached white by the sun.

But the blob sat on a popular spot on the shore of Lake Merritt, and it was built solid. As the years ticked by in the 21st century, Oakland became re-aware and, unexpectedly, fond of it. The blob acquired the catchy "Monster" nickname, and a Fan Club was formed to work for its preservation. The sculpture was patched, repaired, given a fresh coat of chartreuse paint, and on July 28, 2019, the fence came down. The Monster was back with its people.

Mid-Century Monster

Lakeside Park

699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA
Lakeside Park. From Grand Ave. turn at the stoplight onto Bellevue Ave. into Lakeside Park. Follow the road until it starts to bend left, then park. Walk to the right. The Monster is on the small lakeshore beach.
Parking: M-F $2, Sa-Su $5
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