|SCULPTURE | N. SWEARER|
"Iggy" is a 40 foot long iguana made of 12,500 railroad spike-heads and over 35,000 welds. Nicholas Swearer began the sculpture in 1971, at the age of 15, and took four years to complete it.
"Iggy" was started by bending concrete reinforcing rod to form a frame. Chicken wire was then stretched over the frame. After cutting the heads off the railroad spikes, they were laid onto the chicken wire; the heads were welded to one another to form a skin. The chicken wire was burned out in the process.
The face was made of sheet metal hammered into bumps in a dished-out tree stump (Swearer had observed this technique, used by copper repousse workers, on a visit to Mexico at the age of 10). The hammered pieces were then torch-welded together. The back spines were torch-cut and beveled from thick steel plate. This makes the iguana a completely metal-fabricated sculpture.
Upon completing the piece Swearer had several offers of purchase. He chose the Science Museum of Minnesota and "Iggy" has been perched at the main entrance to the museum for more than 35 years.When the Science Museum recently moved to a new location on the Mississippi River, "Iggy" helped advertise the move. He was placed on a tractor-trailer truck and, with police escorts, paraded around the Twin Cities. The iguana now welcomes visitors to the new Science Museum. Ask any Minnesotan and he or she will probably have met "Iggy"!