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Capital Business
Posted at 03:54 PM ET, 04/24/2013

The Tysons Corner Wal-Mart has a sculpture in front of it called ‘The Thought’

This statue was built in front of the Tysons Corner Wal-Mart, which will open later this year. Does your Wal-Mart have a statue? (Courtesy of: Tysons Partnership)
Wal-Mart stores are known to elicit strong opinions, both from people who love their low prices and those who loathe some of the chain’s business practices.

Whatever the angle of your contemplation, the Tysons Corner Wal-Mart has the thing for you: a metal sculpture in front of the store being built on Spring Hill Road named “The Thought.”

Not to be confused with “The Thinker,” the famed bronze statue from 1902 by Auguste Rodin, “The Thought” was commissioned by the developer of the project, JBG Rosenfeld, and sculpted by local artist Robert Cole. JBG unveiled the piece last week and the Wal-Mart store, being built as part of a mixed-use project on the site of the former Moore Cadillac dealership, should be done this fall.

Jay Klug, who manages the Wal-Mart project for JBG, said Cole designed something “simple but elegant.”

“He wanted to represent in physical form something invisible but powerful – a thought,” he said in an e-mail. “Using metal material (which is by its nature dense) to create this sculpture, was a challenge so he tried to make the sculpture as light and sparse as possible.”

Aesthetically, Wal-Mart is known more for its boxy, no-frills warehouses and smiley face logos than its taste in fine art. Why, exactly, does the Tysons Wal-Mart need a statue out front?

Klug noted that the area where JBG is building, around the Spring Hill Road Station being built on Metro’s Silver Line, is envisioned by Fairfax County as a destination for arts and entertainment in the area. He said JBG, which has proposed more development for the area, wanted to contribute to the effort using a local artist.

He said the company plans more public art for the Spring Hill Road area and hopes other landowners follow suit.

“We’re also hopeful...that by bringing forth this first public art piece in the Spring Hill Rd station area we will create a little friendly competition among other developers to outdo each other in terms of public art,” Klug said.

People in Fairfax celebrate the Wal-Mart statue, called “The Thought,” last week. (Courtesy of JBG Rosenfeld)

An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the year “The Thinker” debuted. This version has been corrected.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

By  |  03:54 PM ET, 04/24/2013

Tags:  Tysons Corner, Walmart, Fairfax County, JBG, commercial real estate

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