A bright red mass of various shapes, the Composition of the Axemen, sculpture by Ken Wyten, graces the exterior entrance to the CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield Building in NoMa. Originally completed in 1989, the sculpture has been at this location since 2003 after being temporarily moved during the building’s construction. The sculpture uses a mixture of rectangular, metal shapes that are straight, rounded into L-shapes, and twisted into loops that neatly entangle them together. The sculpture’s bright red coloration came after one of the commissioners mentioned that his favorite color was red.
Commissioned by Greenbaum & Rose Associates for the building, the sculpture adds a bright pop of color and shape to the exterior of the mostly grey buildings surrounding it. Adding to the vibrant tone, the sculpture’s name comes from Wyten’s love for blues music - an ‘axeman’ usually refers to a blues guitarist. While slightly tucked away from the street, the sculpture brings attention to the building and organization it stands in front of. It is not alone in its colorful composition either; Chas Colburn’s Trigadilly stands next door at the CNN Building.
This site is a stop on the Abstract Sculptures of DC tour.