Three steel saplings, a giant metallic fly, and a pebble weighing 12,000 pounds were among the 10 artworks being installed this week at the Newport Beach Civic Center Park.
The artworks join the 10 current works that have been on display for the past year as part of the city’s Civic Center Park Sculpture Exhibition.
The original 10 works will be rotated out next summer and replaced with a new set; the newly installed artwork will be rotated out in 2017.
“We’re very excited for phase two of our sculpture garden,” said Arts Commission Chairwoman Rita Goldberg when the City Council approved the artwork last June, noting that benefits to the community include school field trips, docent-led tours, an enjoyable lunch space for local business employees, opportunities to incorporate music, fun programs for the community, and more. It will also be heavily promoted as a tourist attraction, Goldberg added.
A call for artists was opened in early March with a May 1 deadline. The city received 81 submissions. A judging panel of
three city arts commissioners and three outside experts narrowed it down to 26 finalists and then down to the top 10 and four alternates. The entire Arts Commission then reviewed the selected pieces and approved them for recommendation to the City Council.
The selection criteria included the artistic merit, durability, practicality of installation, and appropriateness to the site.
Visitors to the park can enjoy the new artwork now, but there will be a grand opening celebration for the Sculpture in the Civic Center Park Exhibition – Phase II on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Some of the artists will be on hand to talk about their artwork, and visitors will be able to take an informative walking tour of the sculptures led by members of the Newport Beach Art Foundation (there is also a downloadable cellphone app with a guided tour available for iPhone and Android users).
Special art activities will be held in two sections of the Park and will reportedly offer children an introduction to three-dimensional design inspired by the new sculptures.
A short program will be held in the Community Room beginning at 3 p.m., followed by music and refreshments.
For more information on the event or exhibition, visit newportbeachca.gov/culturalarts, under Public Art, or contact the Newport Beach Cultural Arts Services Office at (949) 717-3801.
SIDEBAR: Guide to the New Sculptures
The new sculptures are (with descriptions courtesy of the City of Newport Beach):
“La Cage aux Folles” by Warren Techentin: Techentin is an architect who reportedly took inspiration from cages, follies, and the nomadic Mongolian yurt to create his adventurous and interactive La Cage aux Folles. The work explores the craft of pipe bending, computational procedures, and fields of linear strands in which each element becomes a participant with numerous roles to play. La Cage has also been treated with a TNEMEC architectural coating to reduce the effects of rusting. The dramatic sculpture has been sited along the entry drive to the Civic Center parking area as its color and linear aspects compliment the City Hall architecture nearby. It took workers several days to painstakingly erect the artwork in the park.
“Re-cycled” by Jarod Charzewski and Sean Mueller: Re-cycled is designed to evoke a viewer’s inherent connection to
preservation by exploring objects and their ability to be tethered to emotional attachments and the resulting inability to throw things away. The sculpture is primarily composed of repurposed bike chain rings and is a little over four feet in diameter. The work is centered where the pathways converge at the primary entrance to the dog park in the upper park area.
“Prime Commonality” by Luke Crawley and Quincy Owens: Crawley drove his artwork 2,300 miles from his home in Illinois to Newport Beach (Crawley said it was the first time he’s been past Las Vegas), and spent several hours last week putting it together for the exhibit. “Prime Commonality” represents the ancestral commonality between humans and chimpanzees, with dramatic evidence exhibited in chromosomal similarities. Each pillar is seven feet high and is styled to represent human and chimpanzee chromosomal banding using panels of aluminum and translucent acrylic. The three pillars have been installed around the stairway entrance at the very top of the park on Avocado Avenue.
“Decline” by Grant Irish: Oakland-based artist Grant Irish focuses much of his work on bronze sculptures that investigate the relationship of instinct, imagination and normative thought. “Decline” is a part of a larger series that was conceived when the artist was confronted with discarded fragments of machinery along Kauai’s North Shore. Fabricated from Corten steel and measuring 15 feet long, the artwork is placed at the top of the lower park’s entry stair.
“Three Saplings” by Diana Merkessinis: Made from reclaimed steel, the “Three Saplings” have been previously exhibited in both indoor and outdoor public settings including the LA County Arboretum, Cypress College, and the Tustin Marketplace. The work began as a gesture drawing, a quick framework noting the foundation for a much larger, sought after organic form. These pieces have been installed along the sloped y hillside adjacent to the parking area at the park entrance.
“Double White” by Bertil Petersson: This 400-pound artwork measures six feet high and is intended to be a minimal
visual element in an otherwise busy visual environment. The artist chose steel as the primary material for this artwork because it is relatively mobile while easy to maintain. This work is sited in the upper park and can be viewed from the nearby outdoor seating area.
“Demoiselle” by LT Mustardseed: “Demoiselle,” first featured in the 2009/2010 El Paseo Invitational Exhibition in Palm Desert, was designed to be weather tolerant, able to withstand high winds and extreme sun exposure. The piece is a metamorphose of the damselfly, a native species to California, created using recycled materials, especially automotive parts. The mouth of the demoiselle fly is made from the grill of a 1940 Chevy truck. The head is made of a motorcycle fender.
“Act/Equator Z360” by Kenneth Capps. The Carlsbad artist has created a significant body of work that has gained national recognition. He describes this sculpture, made of zinc on steel, as “a split atom that fell from the sky; incessantly in motion. This is only a stopping of point.” It is sited midway up the lower area of the park.
“Pebble Series” by Edwin Hamilton. This piece is part of a series of works created by the artist that aspires to tap into a universal human psychic content evoked by ancient stonework in a contemporary sculpture. Hamilton’s complex granite assemblages are inspired by a simple form found in the natural world. This sculpture rests in a site near the center view area at the middle of the lower park, and took a heavy duty fork lift, five workers and a little ingenuity to manhandle the 12,000 pound sculpture into place.
“Sunflower” by Patricia Vader: “Sunflower” is a wind-driven kinetic metal sculpture that supports eight windmills representing the petals and heart of the flowers. This piece will not be installed until January 2016.