Portland, Oregon-based artist Ed Carpenter completed installing “Radius” last weekend, according to AnnArbor.com. The piece is 40 by 20 by 12 feet and made of dichroic glass, aluminum, stainless steel and LED lights.
The $150,000 work of art got mixed reviews from residents heading into the center last week and at least one employee said she didn’t even notice it.
But Amy McCuiston, a University of Michigan employee, told AnnArbor.com that she likes the art, which gives off blue, green, yellow and purple glows.
“I like it a lot,” she said. “I like the different colors. It’s peaceful. I think it’s very soothing, too, because most people when they’re coming in are nervous.”
Not everyone shared that enthusiasm.
“It’s way too much. Why would you spend that kind of money?” asked Art Bolzman. He said he’d prefer something less costly.
The Ann Arbor City Council approved the “Radius” project about a year ago in an 8-2 vote, with the dissenters saying there were better uses for the money and better places for the city’s public art. The City Council is considering changes to the way projects are funded.
“It’s not unusual for public artworks to attract their fair share of negative criticism, but in time, they almost always become a source of pride for the communities where they are installed,” said Auction Central News Editor-in-Chief Catherine Saunders-Watson. “The most widely publicized case of this type involved the monumental Picasso sculpture in Chicago’s Daley Plaza. When it was installed in 1967, the comments were beyond harsh. One of the city aldermen suggested replacing it with a statue of a baseball player, and a well-known Chicago newspaper columnist said it had a ‘long stupid face’ and looked like an insect. But over time it became an iconic symbol of Chicago, and now it’s one of the most admired public sculptures on earth — a fantastic and probably priceless art treasure. I can’t imagine the people of Chicago would part with it for any sum of money.”
The artist specializes in large-scale public installations ranging from architectural sculpture to infrastructure design. His work also can be seen at the Portland Justice Center, Michigan State University, Rockefeller Center in New York, Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix and Orlando City Hall.
Lighting in the piece’s center illuminates glass and anodized aluminum.
“Like ripples from a stone tossed into a pond, ‘Radius’ emanates outward through the Justice Center lobby, a reminder of the interconnectedness of the public with the agencies serving them, and suggesting a network of cause and effect in the public realm,” the artist’s statement reads.
Project specifications include the following details:
Dimensions: 40ft x 20ft x 12in
Materials: Laminated dichroic glass, aluminum, stainless steel, lighting
City of Ann Arbor project administrator: Aaron Seagraves
Computer modeling & working drawings: Curtis Pittman
Project administration: Arleen Daugherty
Engineering: KPFF, Portland, Oregon
Lighting design: Biella Lighting Design, Portland, Oregon
Metal fabrication: Madden Fab, Portland, Oregon
Glass fabrication: Glass Strategies, Portland, Oregon
Drywall and paint: WCWR, Lansing, Michigan
On-site steel and logistics: Ann Arbor Fabrication
On-site electrical: Hopp Electric, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Information from: AnnArbor.com, http://www.annarbor.com
Auction Central News International contributed to this report.
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