Kaikoo icon removed, temporarily relocated

The big red thing in the Quad is gone. In October 2003, Boise State discussed removing “the big red thing in the Quad,” really titled Kaikoo #HVIII, after being part of Boise State’s campus for
18 years.

Controversy arose in previous years regarding ASBSU’s priorities for the campus and appreciation for the piece.

Claims were made by former students that ASBSU did not value Kaikoo for what some students and faculty considered Kaikoo: an important piece of art which should be regarded as such.

Kaikoo stayed. Now, about a decade later, Kaikoo has been taken down. Students and faculty have mixed feelings about Kaikoo being removed and relocated to an undetermined future location.

“It seems a little weird to see it go,” said Memo Cordova, Boise State alumn and reference librarian. “It’s an iconic piece whether you love it or hate it. It’s different.”

Members of Perkins Construction torch cut the base of the sculpture, then strapped and rigged it to the crane.

Joe Perkins, project manager, said they wanted to drill a hole to rig the sculpture, as that would have been safer, but because it is a work of art they could not alter the piece in that way.

“We’re salvaging it in its entirety,” Perkins said.

Kaikoo was taken away at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15.  The concrete base was demolished shortly after.

Project manager Aaron Whitman of Architectural and Engineering Services said plans for the new empty space have not yet been
finalized.

“Personally, I think it would be best to be located somewhere else,” Whitman said. “I’m excited to see how this area gets developed.”

Kevin Satterlee, vice president for Campus Operations, gave this statement in an email: “Removing the sculpture is the first phase of the university moving forward on a redesign of the Quad.

The Quad redesign plans are being brought forward to be complementary to, and in conjunction with, the current master planning effort.

All of the proposed Quad upgrades plans will result in that area of the central Quad having a new design that does not contain a sculpture in that location.”

Whitman said Kaikoo would be well cared for during the removal process and storage in a Boise State utilized warehouse on
Gage Street.

Richard Young, painting professor and former art department chair, said it will give Boise State an opportunity to refurbish the sculpture, by sandblasting and repainting Kaikoo.

“I think it’s a great idea actually,” Young said. “In another place it will be more significant. I’ve always liked it.”

Kaikoo is an abstract piece created from a single piece of steel and an original geometric shape, according to Young.

Kaikoo is also part of a 17-piece sculpture series created by Betty Gold, with these pieces being located across the country and the globe.

Some students and faculty consider Kaikoo a staple at Boise State.

“As an alumn, it represents the Quad,” said Leigh Ann Dufurrena, digital communications specialist with Communications and Marketing. “It was ‘the big red thing on the Quad.’”

Cordova was a student in 1986, a year after Kaikoo had been donated by leading steel industrialist and art collector, Sidney M. Feldman. Dufurrena was a student in 2003 around the time the initial discussion of Kaikoo’s removal took place.

Cordova and Dufurrena support Kaikoo’s location change.

“For the time, in the late ‘80s, it was very dynamic,” Cordova said. “Now, it looks outdated. Now it speaks to a different
dynamic.”

About the author  ⁄ Alx Stickel

Alx Stickel

Alx Stickel is the News Editor at The Arbiter. Stickel is starting her SENIOR YEAR studying communication and sociology at Boise State. She is a lover of learning photography and everything to know about print and online journalism. Follow her on twitter @alxstickel.