Artist Michael Kalish uses 1,300 punching bags to depict Muhammad Ali in a two-dimensional portrait

Artist uses 1,300 punching bags to depict Muhammad Ali
By Chris Chase

Muhammad Ali always said he was the prettiest thing that ever lived. He has a point. It does take a certain beauty to make 1,300 punching bags, five miles of stainless steel and two miles of aluminum tubing look like a work of art. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a talented sculptor rendering those materials.

California artist Michael Kalish will unveil his Ali art installation, “reALIze,” later this month in Los Angeles. The project, which depicts the three-time heavyweight champ by using speed bags, stands two stories high, fills up 15,00 cubic feet and includes five miles of stainless steel, two miles of aluminum tubing and 1,300 of Ali’s favorite practice targets. Kalish told the Los Angeles Times that it took three months to design the sculpture and five months to build it.

Ali’s wife, Yolanda, approached Kalish three years ago after seeing his work with license plate art. He created a piece for the family which eventually led to this sculpture.

The final product will show for two weeks at Nokia Plaza in Los Angeles. From there, Kalish hopes to take it to other venues. Admission is free to the public, but visitors won’t be able to interact with the piece due to its intricate design.

From most angles, the structure looks like a jumble of boxing bags and twisted metal.

It’s only when viewed from the proper vantage point that the structure becomes a two-dimensional portrait of the former heavyweight champion.

The official unveiling of the exhibit is scheduled for March 25.

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