Gallery Artists > Bob 'Daddy-O' Wade Biography :

Bob 'Daddy-O' Wade (b. 1943)  Artworks >>

Bob Wade, Sculptor of the Outlandishly Large, Dies at 76: Known as Daddy-O, he created roadside, streetside and top-of-the-roof attractions in Texas and elsewhere." Online obituary, The New York Times, By Richard Sandomir, Jan. 7, 2020 Bob Wade, a Texas artist whose 40-foot-long iguana sculpture once perched atop the Lone Star Cafe in Manhattan and whose 63-foot-high saxophone lured patrons to a blues nightclub in Houston, died on Dec. 24 at his home in Austin. He was 76. His wife, Lisa Wade, said the cause was cardiac arrest. For more than 40 years, Mr. Wade — who was known by the nickname Daddy-O — built whimsical, outsize public art that nodded to Texas’s culture of bigness, gaining renown for his uninhibited style but also drawing attention as a serious artist in some circles. Like most of his creations, his iguana, which he christened Iggy, could not be ignored. Inspired by a stuffed iguana a friend had brought him from Mexico, Mr. Wade used wire mesh and polyurethane foam to fabricate the work, a ferocious-looking monster with an open, spiky-toothed mouth, knife-like spines running down its back and an impressively large dewlap. I know for sure that Texans are fascinated by critters — all kinds of critters,” he said in a 1999 documentary film about his work, Too High, Too Wide and Too Long: A Texas-Style Road Trip, directed by Karen Dinitz. In the movie, which follows him around the state to view his artwork, Mr. Wade and friends tow his Iguana Mobile, an Airstream trailer that he customized with a fiberglass iguana’s head in front, a tail in back and a saddle on top. Iggy wound up at the Lone Star, a Texas-themed honky-tonk, in the 1970s after Mr. Wade had shown the iguana at an exhibition in western New York, near Niagara Falls. Impetuously picking up the phone one day at 2 a.m., he called Mort Cooperman, the club’s owner, and asked him if he would like to install the sculpture on the roof of the Lone Star building, at Fifth Avenue and 13th Street. Mr. Cooperman said yes, agreeing to pay Mr. Wade $1,000 a year for Iggy — the deal was originally for five years — and $1,000 a year for his bar tab. “It had this confident, cocky, regal kind of look, derived from all that earlier stuff — dragons and dinosaurs,” Mr. Wade said of the sculpture in an interview with The New York Times in 2010. “In a place like New York, it could hold its own.” It did. Iggy remained in place for most of the 1980s, looming over a banner that proclaimed, “Too Much Ain’t Enough,” and surviving a lawsuit filed by residents who objected to the sculpture as grotesque. Mr. Wade became a favorite of Mayor Edward I. Koch’s. “It had this confident, cocky, regal kind of look, derived from all that earlier stuff — dragons and dinosaurs,” Mr. Wade said of the sculpture in an interview with The New York Times in 2010. “In a place like New York, it could hold its own.” It did. Iggy remained in place for most of the 1980s, looming over a banner that proclaimed, “Too Much Ain’t Enough,” and surviving a lawsuit filed by residents who objected to the sculpture as grotesque. Mr. Wade became a favorite of Mayor Edward I. Koch’s. A few years after the boots were disassembled and moved to a mall in San Antonio on three flatbed trucks in 1980, Mr. Wade got a phone call from the mall’s manager. A homeless man had found his way into one of the boots and cooked his lunch there. The boot was on fire. “It was the size of a small apartment, kind of a nice spot, and he was cooking lunch with cans of Sterno, and smoke was emerging from the top of the boots,” Mr. Wade said in “Too High, Too Wide and Too Long.” The work, rising 35 feet 3 inches, was certified in 2014 by the Guinness World Records as the tallest cowboy boot sculpture in the world. Robert Schrope Wade was born in Austin on Jan. 6, 1943. His father, Chaffin, was a hotel manager who took his family with him as he moved to various properties around Texas. Hi

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