Dump truck doubles as public art in new downtown Boston exhibit

Marcia Doyle
Updated Jun 15, 2019

Red dump truck on display as public art with stained glass

In what he calls “a deliberate nod to community construction workers and laborers that help build our beautiful cities, bridges and park systems,” artist Karl Unnasch has created a backlit stained-glass red dump truck for a public art exhibit in downtown Boston.

A close up of the stained-glass panels on the dump body.A close up of the stained-glass panels on the dump body.

Up close image of stained-glass panels on dump truck

Unnasch says the piece, on display until this fall and commissioned as part of “The Auto Show” exhibit on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, recalls the work put in to construct Boston’s Big Dig, a massive 15-year tunnel project that rerouted I-93 throughout the downtown and created the greenway.

The show is designed in part to look at “the ways in which our automobiles and highways reflect our communal history, values and perceptions of the world,” he says.

Entitled “Operant (An Oldowonk Cataract),” the piece features backlit stain glass panels installed in the cab windows and along the sides of the dump body. Each panel shows nature’s approach to building, including images of ants, beavers, wasps, chimps and elephants. A cascade of backlit chunk glass comes out of the back of the truck, resembling a load of crushed rock.