Monumental Rocket Sculpture by Hubert Phipps Selected for Art in Public Places Program in South Florida
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Monumental Rocket Sculpture by Hubert Phipps Selected for Art in Public Places Program in South Florida
Photo courtesy of Hubert Phipps. Photo by Jacek Gancarz.

BOCA RATON, FLA.- The monumental new sculpture Rocket by Hubert Phipps has been selected for an Art in Public Places initiative in South Florida, at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC), the historic tech landmark where the first IBM Personal Computer was invented. Watch the aerial video here. This new public art program is part of a cultural partnership between the Boca Raton Museum of Art and CP Group, the owner of BRiC and a premier developer and operator of commercial real estate. South Florida officials are welcoming Rocket as one of the largest outdoor sculptures ever chosen for a public art initiative in Palm Beach County. The Phipps sculpture is valued at $1.5 million, stands 30-feet tall, weighs 9.8 tons, and took more than 2,200 square feet of stainless steel to construct. The Rocket sculpture towers alongside a waterfront panorama of iconic architecture designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1960s. This celebrated architectural style by Breuer is rarely seen at this grand of a scale, spanning so many acres. The new sculpture by Phipps and the historic buildings designed by Breuer marry each other well in the Brutalist style, creating a powerful visual impact.

“The sculpture by Hubert Phipps was conceived as that intersection between art and science, and celebrates the heroics of modern engineering, as also seen in Marcel Breuer’s historic building designs for IBM’s North American Research and Development Headquarters,” said Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The gleaming, stainless steel reflecting Rocket was two years in the making, with a nod to Sci Fi retro futurism. The Campus encourages visitors to walk around and underneath it, to enjoy their funhouse mirror images on the shiny surface.

The nationally acclaimed artist Hubert Phipps was also a champion race car driver (National Champion in the SCCA 1981 Formula Atlantic) and is commemorating his upcoming 50th anniversary as an aviator. Phipps often pilots his Airbus Helicopter H-120 down to Palm Beach from his artist studio in Virginia. The Phipps family were early pioneers of Palm Beach, and adventures in aviation are a longtime tradition for the family ‒ one of his ancestors, Amy Phipps Guest, was one of the first women aviators back in the 1920s. She championed Amelia Earhart’s successful transoceanic flight in 1928. Amy yearned to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, but her protective family insisted on selecting Amelia Earhart in her place. Amy sponsored that historic flight, and welcomed Amelia when she landed in the U.K. Amy was prominent as a women's suffragist, and an influential aviation enthusiast. The location of the new sculpture, BRiC, also has a special mark on history. Now owned and managed by CP Group, BRiC is where the first IBM personal computer was invented, the first smartphone, early robotics technology, and other tech marvels. The state-of-the-art, 1.7 million square foot office park is a magnet today for forward thinkers in technology and life sciences.

Marcel Breuer’s original design called for 620,000 square feet of research, development and office space in a concrete, Y-shaped building around a central lake that now faces the Rocket sculpture by Phipps. The sculpture is fast becoming a must-see spot in South Florida for art lovers who cherish selfies with awe-inspiring artworks. “I am honored to have my artwork selected for this public art initiative by the Boca Raton Museum of Art,” said Phipps. “It is inspiring to see the Rocket sculpture surrounded by the creative genius of Marcel Breuer’s architecture at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, where so much history was made in the realms of technology.”

Portrait of Hubert Phipps by Frankie Damba.

Rocket by Hubert Phipps . . .

Phipps refined the sculptural design in Maya, a computer 3D modeling software program, after developing the model out of clay from a sketch. The monumental outdoor installation is an edition of three, which are for sale (the dimensions are 30’ x 24.8’ x 9.5’ ‒ or 9.1 x 7.5 x 2.8 meters). Rocket was fabricated in Hangzhou, China at the Tany Foundry, out of sheet grade AISI 316 stainless steel, with the armature constructed out of AISI 304 steel. This high-quality grade stainless steel, which is corrosive resistant, does well in subtropical environments. Great care has been taken to engineer the sculpture to stand up to category 5 hurricanes. Watch the aerial video here.

“We are honored to have Hubert Phipps’ impressive Rocket sculpture on our campus,” said Angelo Bianco, Managing Partner of CP Group. “As the cornerstone of our outdoor art gallery, this is an important step in our process of transforming BRiC from a closed campus into an open community asset with a STEAM focus that is integrated into the business, educational, and social fabric of South Florida. This new art installation is attracting broad popularity throughout the tri-county area, and plays an instrumental role in making BRiC a community destination.”

A Passion for Aviation and Aerospace Science . . .

“A great admirer of Marcel Breuer, Hubert Phipps brings us back full circle to the idea of forms levitating into space. The monumental Rocket boldly captures that heroic lift-off with a sense of awe and wonderment,” adds Irvin Lippman. “Breuer’s expressive concrete buttresses shape an architecture that appear to lift the building upwards from the ground. Its polished surface further enlivens the sculpture reflecting the sky, lawns, lights, and the people moving around the park, welcoming interaction with visitors – perfectly encapsulating the experience of art in public places.”

Hubert Phipps has logged 4,000+ hours of flying time, since the age of 16. “I’ve had a passion for aviation since I can remember, and vividly recall watching the first landing on the moon in 1969,” adds Phipps. “During my sophomore year in High School I asked for permission to go to the local airport for flight training, instead of soccer practice. I earned my student pilot’s licensed and was flying over that school at 1,000 feet, looking down and thinking ‒ this is a lot cooler than playing soccer. As an artist, I’m attracted to the aesthetics of aerodynamic forms and elements relating to spacecraft.”

Photo courtesy of Hubert Phipps. Photo by Jacek Gancarz.

More About this Public Art Partnership for the Community . . .

CP Group aligned with the Boca Raton Museum of Art and its Executive Director, Irvin Lippman, to add Rocket by Hubert Phipps to the campus art collection and make it BRiC’s landmark statement piece as part of a greater project of a full-scale indoor and outdoor art museum. Lippman has placed an emphasis on extending art outside of the museum’s walls with an Art in Public Places initiative, which also includes bringing a Dorothy Gillespie gallery to BRiC. Lippman is also a member of BRiC’s Arts, History and Architecture (AHA) committee, which helps provide input and value on every aspect of the campus’s revival and ensures BRiC is thoughtfully integrating arts, history and architecture into its plan. The sculpture at BRiC is already attracting the attention of private collectors, including Palm Beach real estate magnate Lawrence Moens, who purchased the original conceptual drawing and artist proof of the sculpture. The gallery TW Fine Art, with locations in Palm Beach and Brooklyn, is selling a limited edition of the maquette-sized version of Rocket and will feature Hubert Phipps in a solo gallery show during Art Basel Season, in Palm Beach.

The Artist Hubert Phipps

Hubert Phipps is based in Middleburg, Virginia, where his studio is located. In 2021, he will be featured in a solo gallery show during Art Basel Season at TW Fine Art in Palm Beach. He was part of the Art Students League of New York at the age of 17, and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. He also participated in programs at Escape Studios in London and the New York Studio School. Known for his abstract sculptures and paint pigment drawings, Phipps experiments with various forms and materials, including steel, bronze, wood, composites, plaster, glass and marble. His works are featured in the permanent collections of major museums, institutions and private collectors, including: Tufts University Art Galleries (MA); Boca Raton Museum of Art (FL); Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (CO); Harn Museum of Art (FL); Georgia Museum of Art (Athens, GA); Coral Springs Museum of Art (FL); and the Flint Institute of Arts (MI) which recently selected Paradise, the monumental bronze sculpture by Phipps, where the 1.5 ton, 9-foot-tall work is currently on view.

About CP Group

Active in the commercial real estate business for over 35 years, CP Group, formerly Crocker Partners, has established a reputation as a premier owner, operator, and developer of office and mixed-use projects throughout the Southeast and Southwest United States. Since 1986, CP Group has acquired and managed over 161 properties, totaling over 51 million square feet and representing over $6.5 billion invested. They are currently Florida's largest and Atlanta's second-largest office landlord and rank 27th largest in the United States. Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, the firm has regional offices in Atlanta, Miami, Jacksonville, Dallas, and Washington DC. Visit

About the Architect Marcel Breuer

“The Bauhaus designer’s modern vision helped post-war American building see the future. A string of impressive structures, from the Whitney Museum in Manhattan to a demo house in the garden near MOMA that ignited interest in his designs, has left his influence undeniable.” ― Dwell Magazine. Marcel Breuer (1902–1981), was a Hungarian-born modernist architect and furniture designer, and is the subject of a major new feature-length documentary titled Breuer’s Bohemia. Breuer extended the sculpture vocabulary he had developed in the carpentry shop at the Bauhaus into a personal architecture that made him one of the world's most popular architects at the peak of 20th-century design. His work includes art museums, libraries, college buildings, office buildings, and residences.

About the Boca Raton Museum of Art

Kicking off its eighth decade in 2021, the Boca Raton Museum of Art encompasses a creative campus that includes the Museum in Mizner Park and the Art School. As one of South Florida’s cultural landmarks and the Official Museum for the City of Boca Raton, the Museum has provided cultural and artistic service to the community, and to many visitors from around the world, since it was founded by artists in 1950.

About the Boca Raton Innovation Campus

Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC) is the largest single facility office building in the state at 1.7 million square feet. Designed by Marcel Breuer, the campus was originally built in 1969 for IBM and is home to the invention of the first personal computer. The campus was acquired by CP Group in 2018 with the vision of building off BRiC’s history and evolving the campus into a science and technology hub. An ideal landing spot for companies with large footprints, BRiC is currently home to 18 national headquarters and 19 regional offices including Kroger, Modernizing Medicine, Canon, and Boca Regional Hospital.

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