Rocket, the latest installation by artist Hubert Phipps and his largest sculpture to date, stands more than 30 feet tall as the new centerpiece of the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, a tech landmark where the IBM Personal Computer was invented in 1981. A public art initiative by the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the sculpture was cut and welded from stainless-steel plates. Limited-edition maquettes are available for purchase at TW Fine Art in Palm Beach.
Rocket has manifold significance to Phipps, who has been flying airplanes and helicopters for nearly 50 years. “I am inspired by the achievements man has made in overcoming the challenges of traveling into space and to the moon,” he says, pointing out that Florida has been center stage in rocket development and space travel thanks to NASA in Cape Canaveral and, closer to home, Pratt & Whitney’s West Palm Beach facility.
His own connection to Palm Beach County traces back to 1969 when, as a child, he moved in with his uncle, Michael Phipps. He lived locally until he returned to his home state of Virginia in 2006. “This is like home to me in many ways,” says Phipps, who stays connected by visiting and exhibiting art in Palm Beach.
“I remember hearing the sounds when we were at my uncle’s ranch near Indiantown when Pratt & Whitney were testing the rocket engines,” he recalls. “Rocket speaks to science, technology, and boundless optimism. It’s a symbol of exploration, courage, and adventure.”