For the better part of a decade, the United Crushers graffiti at the top of the ADM-Delmar #4 elevators near the University of Minnesota has been a towering beacon to motorists on I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul, nearly as iconic as the nearby Witch’s Hat Tower. In the past year or so, it’s had a little bit of a cultural moment, lending its name to both an album by local favorites Poliça and a special-edition beer by Surly. In an era when there’s been no shortage of new public artworks poised for Instagram stardom, United Crushers almost seems like a period piece. It’s a throwback to an age just before social media, when getting the most eyeballs meant executing the largest, highest, and most prominently placed artwork possible. And there’s not much that is larger, higher, and more prominent in the physical and historical life of Minneapolis than an abandoned grain elevator. The piece is a tribute to both insane risk-taking and the enduring power of a well-chosen handle.
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