Mountains and Rainbows
Mountains and Rainbows was Jose Bermudez’s first major commission in Arizona, purchased by the Scottsdale Fine Arts Commission in 1975 to highlight the newly created Scottsdale Mall. It was originally sited within a pond-like setting, with arcing water sprays streaming from one side of the piece, creating a rainbow effect when illuminated by the sun. Twenty-four steel floating discs and an adjoining fountain surrounded the sculpture that measured 22ft at its highest point.
Years of harsh treatment due to the effects of the water on the surface coupled with a period of vandalism in which the floating discs were stolen caused the artwork’s character to diminish. When the city renovated the mall, the sculpture was restored and restructured so that the debilitated water elements could be removed and relocated to its current location in the mall.
Jose Bermudez was born of Spanish parents in Havana Cuba. He immigrated to the United States in 1953 to work at the Organization of American States, a job he held until he retired in 1971. His work is in numerous museum collections, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Detroit Art Institute, and the Smithsonian Institution. After a battle with cancer, he died in 1998.