Columbus Public Art 2012
Planned in conjunction with Columbus’ Bicentennial, Finding Time: Columbus Public Art 2012 will transform downtown into an open-air gallery with temporary public art projects that explore the physical and philosophical measurements of time.
Through the juxtaposition of simple and grand, familiar and new, profound and whimsical, Finding Time aims to inspire citizens and visitors to see Columbus and themselves with fresh eyes. By demonstrating the value of art in the public realm, this initiative aims to spur the ongoing integration of public art into the fabric of the city.
Read more about the background of this initiative here.
Trinity Episcopal Church, Broad and Third Streets
The bells at Trinity Episcopal Church are played by hand by carillonneur Nick Tepe and—with the addition of new equipment a few years ago—can be programmed to ring mechanically. Twelve composers, ranging from contemporary masters to jazz musicians to writers of sacred and secular music, have been invited to create new pieces for the bells. Beginning with an inaugural performance of the first composition at 12:02 a.m. on January 1, 2012, and continuing with a new composition each month, these works will reinforce the overarching theme of time that weaves through all Finding Time projects. The use of the church bells recalls their history as a mode of communication, while the compositions themselves will be uniquely modern reflections of our time. The year, as well as the work of Finding Time, will conclude with the performance of the final composition in the series on December 31 at 11:59 p.m.
Composers: Sheena Phillips, Donald Harris, Sue Harshe, Vera Stanojevic, Bobby Floyd, Derek DiCenzo, Mark Flugge, Gerald Harvey, Jacob Reed, Mark Gunderson, Brian Harnetty, and Richard Smoot.
Stuart Williams (New York, NY)
Breath of Life / Columbus
COSI Riverfront/Old Central High School Façade
An environmental artist, Williams will install LED lighting programmed to create slowly undulating waves of light that repeatedly sweep up and down the east façade of COSI. The relaxed pace of the rising and ebbing washes of light will be similar to slow breathing, as though the buildings are in a Zen-like state of meditation. Scioto Mile Park will be an ideal vantage point from which to view this northern-light-like installation and its reflection on the river. Preview the installation here.
Four-Season Urban Plein Air Paintings
Members of the Central Ohio Plein Air Society will create 24 discrete paintings (six per season) on buildings in the downtown core. The artworks will be painted in the style called plein air, a French term meaning “in open air” which refers to a process in which the artist paints a subject on location. In this case, the artists will focus on sites in unexpected downtown locations: side streets, alleys, parking lots, nooks, and crannies. The paintings are meant to be discovered by pedestrians going about their everyday business. Rather than being executed all at once, these works will be done throughout the year, capturing the city in each season.
Janet Zweig (Brooklyn, NY)
88 E. Broad Street
Zweig will create a generative three-dimensional sentence, written by the people of Columbus, and placed, word-by-word, on a blank wall behind Key Bank. Generative text can tap into an unconscious that often discovers hidden, insightful poetic truths, often humorous ones. In Zweig’s words: “The sentence will start with the first five words, each installed at 10-14 day intervals.” The project will begin simply with the word ‘COLUMBUS’ and proceed as follows:
- COLUMBUS NEVER
- COLUMBUS NEVER CAME
- COLUMBUS NEVER CAME HERE
- COLUMBUS NEVER CAME HERE BUT
After that, there will be an online process for people to suggest the next words, from which Zweig will select. Her choices will depend on words that create the possibility of one meaning that can shift with the addition of subsequent words. Columbus’s statement about itself will be writ large over the course of the year. Since the sentence is gradually generative, what Columbus has to say about itself collectively won’t be known until the end of 2012.
Martin Keil (Odessa, Ukraine) and Henrik Meyer (Berlin, Germany)
Workshop late February / realization May
Keil and Meyer have collaborated for many years as Reinigungsgesellschaft, which translates from the German as “The Cleaning Society.” They describe their work as an “artistic venture at the point of intersection between art and society.” As a research-based artistic practice, their work often takes its form from an intensive period of investigation into a business or cultural institution. Working both with and within these organizations, they seek to clarify what the institutions mean in the larger cultural context and in turn to apply their findings in the form of maps, signs, photographs, and films. Keil and Meyer are not strangers to Columbus: they first came here a decade ago on the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Dresden sister-city exchange program, and they returned in 2009 for a residency at CCAD. Reinigungsgesellschaft will partner with COTA on a project ingeniously titled “ColumBUS” that will bring their creative insight to our regional public-transportation system, to its role in the city’s future, and to exploration of concepts of public transportation in the Midwest. Their system-wide “site” will include drivers, riders, management, busses, transit centers, and print pieces such as schedules and maps that are part of the everyday business of COTA.
Mary Jo Bole (Columbus, OH)
www.ColumbusPublicArt.com and Columbus Metropolitan Library
Throughout the year
A sculptor, printmaker, and bookmaker, Bole is creating a commemorative book about Columbus. She has completed books on Cleveland and Dresden, Germany (Columbus’s sister city), where she was a resident artist in 2004. While attuned for historical detail, Bole will work throughout the year to produce 36 drawings and paintings of Columbus. The public component of her project will be a steady stream of the historical images of Columbus she has unearthed—ranging from the profound and moving to the absurd—through her extensive research. At the end of the year, the drawings will be published in a contemporary version of commemorative tomes—an artist’s book with images and notes on Columbus’s past and present filtered through her idiosyncratic vision of the city she calls home. Copies of her book will be placed in all branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Eight architects and architect teams have been commissioned to design attendant booths for surface parking lots. By considering these micro buildings that are generally viewed as strictly functional, the project will turn our attention to the potential for innovative design in gaps in the urban fabric. At the same time, the architects will provide unique shelters for attendants, many of whom are “invisible” immigrant workers. Participating architects include BLOV, Jonathan Barnes, Lincoln Street Studio, Design Group, Michael Baumberger and Tracy Perry, and Neal Clements, all of Columbus; and Allan Wexler, NY. Finding Time Curatorial Assistant/Project Coordinator Dow Kimbrell will manage this project. Students in his seminar last autumn at OSU’s Knowlton School of Architecture have designed and will construct one of the booths.
David Best (Sonoma, CA)
Broad Street Bridge
Best’s most notable works are monumental, highly articulated wooden temples for the Burning Man festivals. For Columbus, Best will create four sculptures for the cylindrical posts at the termini of the Broad Street Bridge. Each spire-like element will be different, though the family of shapes throughout is reminiscent of elaborate towers or finials. The bridge was completed in 1992 with sculptural elements in mind, but they were never completed. Best’s temporary project will bring new life to these prominent, but empty, features of Columbus’s major downtown bridge.
Tim Rietenbach (Columbus, OH)
Scioto River near North Bank Park
Imagining the continuous movement of the river as time passing is the “platform” for Reitenbach’s project. Titled Grazing, this piece will feature 12 double-life-size “cows” made of steel rod that will float on the Scioto River. By using the rod, Rietenbach is able to “draw in space” the ghostly outlines of these representations of Columbus’s agrarian past. Both the image and the motion of the sculptures on the river will speak to slowing down, and to some extent, defying the progression of time. The cows, even in this displaced incarnation, will conjure a time when farms were smaller and cows were able to roam the fields in close proximity to the city. Rietenbach’s project may be interpreted as a drawing of the ghosts of Columbus’s past.
Seyed Alavi (Oakland, CA) with Transit Arts
Various Downtown Locations
Working closely with the youth of Transit Arts and elders at the Central Community House, Alavi will hold a workshop in February to explore creating a tent and developing related programming to occur throughout the summer. The tent will be based on timeless designs of nomadic Bedouins, skinned in a quilt comprising the flags of the world. Titled Re-Orient, the piece is conceived as a means of exploring the larger concepts of home, citizenship, and the sense of belonging to a place, city, or country. The tent will be portable and will be installed in various locations during the course of the Bicentennial where it will be a base for discussions, performances, and other events by Transit Arts youth.
Candace Black (Columbus, OH)
Pearl and Lynn streets
With a strong background in fine art and historical preservation work—the later from her expert plaster work on the interior renovation of the Great Southern Theater—Black will create plaster elements that will morph, abstract, and extend architectural details on 19th-century buildings. This installation will bring attention to the built environment through simple transformative acts. Black’s warping of the architecture will remind viewers of the inevitable changes over time of the built environment.
Dawit Petros (New York, NY)
Eritrean-born artist Petros investigates boundaries in artistic, geographical, and cultural contexts. Working from original architectural plans, Petros will create large-scale drawings of the floor plans of downtown buildings long since demolished. Petros and local assistants from the African Diaspora will use henna—a dye extracted from a flowering plant that has been employed since antiquity to paint designs on human skin—to create drawings that will be applied to a building facade. The henna will fade over time and the architectural designs will disappear, presenting a virtual metaphor for the changing presence and use of buildings in the downtown core. Columbus Landmarks Foundation is assisting with research of archival building plans to determine a site for this project.
Nikhil Chopra (Mumbai, India)
A performance artist based in Mumbai, India who studied at the Ohio State University, Chopra creates performances that are a form of storytelling intermingling familial histories, personal narrative, and everyday life. In his work, the process of performing is a means to access, excavate, extract, and present these themes. For Finding Time, Chopra will return to Columbus, ten years after having graduated from OSU. He will pitch a tent as a base for a tour-de-force public performance to create a monumental drawing on the wall of a parking garage.
Willard Tucker (Nashville, TN)
Working in cooperation with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the 2012 EcoSummit, Tucker’s installation piece directly engages the Scioto River. As the EcoSummit will focus on the issue of water quality, Tucker plans a series of interventions on the water that will direct public attention to the river. Accessible by solar-powered ferryboats leaving from the Santa Maria boat ramp, these installations will include sound works such as a Railroad Bridge Harp, where coiled springs are tensioned beneath the railroad bridges and resonate with the passing bridge traffic and are struck by hammers that move with the wind. Other installations include Downtown River Mist, where mist machines located next to several downtown manhole covers that flow to the Scioto will emit the odor of the river into the streets in order to create a multisensory connection between the urban landscape and river in the minds of downtown pedestrians as they navigate the city. Each of the interventions planned for the river is part of an overall artistic program to raise public consciousness about the river itself and the health of the waterway.