Monday, March 19, 2012


These are three different pieces that can be found in the Des Moines area or near by. The Nomad is one of my favorite sculptures, the negative space and it's location just make it work. It is located in the Pappa John Sculpture Garden. The figure's sheer size dominates the park's landscape, and its human form made from scrambled steel letters seems to suit the city's vision of itself in the Information Age. The artist envisioned the letters as building blocks for words and ideas in the same way human cells for tissues, organs and bodies. They're painted with white enamel that appears dark against the sunlit sky and glows at night, thanks to dramatic spotlights at the sculpture's base. The effect is surprisingly ethereal for something that weighs about 4 tons.

The other two sculptures are by Goldsworthy one can be found at the Des Moines Art Center and the other in Grinnell. Scottish landscape sculptor Goldsworthy created this work, his largest in the western hemisphere, to link distant sites by means of sculptures. Three Cairns is comprised of three temporary cairns, three permanent sculptures, and three exhibitions on the East and West Coasts of America and in Des Moines. The cairn form (an oval stone structure that Goldsworthy has been creating since the 1980s) connects the two coasts with the center of the country as well as emphasizing the different environments of the Eastern, Western, and Central United States. All the cairns are made from Iowa limestone, chosen to match the field stone Saarinen used in the Des Moines Center for Art.

In 2001, the first of the temporary cairns was created at a prairie site in Iowa administered by Grinnell College. Later in 2001, two remaining temporary cairns were erected in tidal zones on the East and West Coasts. All of the temporary cairns were documented as they were altered by the environment. On the two coasts, the cairns were quickly destroyed by incoming tides while in Iowa Goldsworthy recorded in photographs the cairn in various weather conditions as well as under moonlight and surrounded by fire (when part of the prairie site was burned).

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