Ed Massey

Corporate Ladder

Corporate Ladder

After approving his proposal and maquette, the Principal Financial Group commissioned Massey to create a life-size Corporate Ladder for the lobby of their building outside Washington, D.C.

Completed in 1990, the 19-foot high sculpture immediately evoked passionate emotions from viewers and coast-to-coast media focus. The work triggered reflections about corporate hierarchy, success, ethics and competition, ethnic and gender issues and disparities in the business world, glass ceilings, affirmative action and one’s own standing in life.

National dailies, business and art publications including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, the Washington Post, Sculpture, and the Smithsonian Wilson Quarterly all featured the work and the visceral responses to it, as did numerous television and radio broadcasts.

Visitors packed the lobby.

The vociferous discourse rattled the Principal Financial Group, which selected the work for its appreciation of the piece’s satirical reflections. Intended for permanent placement in the building, PFG pulled down the Corporate Ladder four months after installation.

Eight months after Corporate Ladder was pulled down, a federal statute was implemented which makes unlawful the removal of art works intended for permanent installation.

Massey has created Corporate Ladder sculptures that vary substantially in scale and medium, and vary in composition from a few to upwards of 17 figures.

A limited edition Corporate Ladder sculpture reaching 30” in height and comprised of 5 solid bronze, hand-painted figures on a stainless steel ladder and base is based on the 19- foot work.