British sculptor Henry Moore was born on July 30, 1898. He became connected with Little Rock 80 years after his birth.
It was 1978, Bill Clinton was making his first run for Governor, Dallas and Robin Williams both made their TV debuts, disco was dominating the music scene, and Little Rock received its first major piece of public art.
Arguably Little Rock’s most famous piece of public art is Henry Moore’s 1961 creation Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge, which is known locally as “The Henry Moore Sculpture.”
The original model was created in 1961; this sculpture was cast in 1976 and purchased in June 1978 by the Little Rock Metrocentre Improvement District.
The purchase price was $185,000 — a princely sum at the time but now a bargain for a Henry Moore sculpture. (Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be the equivalent of $727,000 today.)
A committee consisting of Townsend Wolfe (then the director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center), James Dyke and Dr. Virginia Rembert traveled to England to meet with Moore about the sculpture.
It was originally placed on Main Street when the street had been bricked over as part of the Metrocentre Mall pedestrian mall plan. As portions of the street became unbricked and reopened to vehicular traffic, it was moved to the intersection of Capitol and Main. Finally, when the last segment was reopened to vehicular traffic, it was put at its current location of the southeast corner of Capitol and Louisiana.
In March 2018, ownership was transferred to the City of Little Rock. Plans call for it to be relocated to the Arkansas Arts Center when it reopens in 2022.
A replica of the sculpture is featured in the 1980s classic The Breakfast Club.