Communities: Seeing Red at the Civic Center Sculpture Exhibit

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RED being installed
RED being installed

The Newport Beach Civic Center is in the red—but that’s a good thing.

Red, the last of the 10 sculptures to find a home at the Civic Center Park, finally sits prominently atop a hill overlooking the civic center.

The round solid black figure looks on with an omniscient quality, as if it knows all, absorbs all, watches all—like a friendlier version of “2001: A Space Odyssey’s” black obelisk.

Artist Jonathan Prince created the sculpture with black granite that was sourced from Zimbabwe and inspired by nature. The biconcave disk’s geometric shapes forms a red blood cell, hence its name.

The art piece itself weighs in at about 6,000 lbs with a steel base of around 1,000 lbs, and stands over 5 feet tall. Up close the granite’s iridescent quality becomes obvious with glittering specks that make it sparkle.

On his website, Prince reveals this piece is part of his exploration into boundaries that define the way we perceive material and the way we believe it should behave.

“States of matter are the distinct forms that different phases of matter take on. Solid, liquid, gas and plasma are the most common states of matter on earth.”

Despite Red’s heavy weight, it took only two experienced art handlers and a 10,000 lb capacity forklift to move it into place.


David Aeppli, owner of Display Art Installation Services, and his brother Paul, chief fabricator and warehouse manager, used their specialized skill to place Red and all the other sculptures in the park. They have become acquainted with many well-known artists throughout their 23 years in the business.

Red’s installation took only four hours compared to Odyssey’s 14 hour stretch. The white 22 foot tall sculpture by artist Ray Katz had to be assembled piece by piece but was well worth the time. Aeppli admitted it was one of his favorites in the park.

Rebecca Ansert Ehemann, founder and principal of Green Public Art, was also there to oversee the move. Her art consultant company that incorporates sustainable strategies for public art helped locate the artwork for the exhibition.

Currently she is looking for local artists that would like to submit their work for consideration. She has a post at the website CAFÉ, The pieces right now in the park are on loan until August 2016 and will be replaced by another round of sculptures.

Regarding Red, Ehemann mentioned it took a bit of sweet talking to get Prince to loan the city his art.

“I’ve been following his work for awhile,” she commented, and was extremely happy when the well-known Boston-based artist agreed to lend his artwork for the exhibition.

Contact Gina Dostler at [email protected].


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