City installs Antony Gormley scupture Sunday at Anchorage Museum
April 19, 2010
Contact: Jocelyn Young, Curator of Public Art Office of Community Planning and Development Municipality of Anchorage Phone (907) 343-6473 YoungJH@ci.anchorage.ak.us
World-Renown Sculptural Artist Antony Gormley’s “Habitat” to be Installed at the Anchorage Museum on April 25 “Habitat” is Gormley’s First Commissioned Sculpture in the U.S.
ANCHORAGE, AK – The much-anticipated public art sculpture, “Habitat,” by world-renowned British artist Antony Gormley, will be installed April 25 on the outdoor promenade at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. Standing 24 feet tall and weighing 37,000 pounds, “Habitat” was created in honor of the museum’s expansion and was funded by the Municipality of Anchorage’s 1 Percent for Art Program.
The public is invited to attend the installation, which will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 25 at the corner of 6th and C Streets downtown.
“Habitat” is a meditation on the condition of urban man in relation to nature, a relevant topic for Alaskans whose lives are so entwined with the environment. The sculpture was created from 57 stainless steel boxes stacked to depict a seated person with its arms crossed over its knees. Gormley said he was inspired by Anchorage’s city grid and the architecture of the Anchorage Museum’s addition.
In describing his sculpture, Antony Gormley said: “Most of us live in cities. This work HABITAT is a man in the form and the size of a house. This body takes a position on the building line and looks to the horizon. The mind inhabits the body, the body inhabits a house, the house inhabits a city, the city inhabits a land. Alaska is one of the last wildernesses. This is a meditation on the human animals need for a very particular form of habitat.”
The sculpture will sit on the street line frontage, acting as transition between the museum and the city. The sculpture introduces the museum’s collections of ethnography and art, and references the creation and development of the human habitat. The work is designed to respond to the changing light and temperature conditions of Alaska, as well as offer shelter from the wind, snow and rain. “I am very excited about seeing how this work inserts itself into the collective experience of Anchorage,” Gormley said.
The artist has built his reputation with large-scale, outdoor sculptures of the human figure, a universal image understood around the globe. His steel sculpture “Angel of the North” – standing 66 feet tall with a wingspan of 178 feet – has become a major tourist attraction in Northern England. The same is true of his “Quantum Cloud” steel sculpture by the Millennium Dome in the Thames in London.
Last month, Gormley installed his first U.S. public art project in New York City. Called “Event Horizon,” it is a temporary installation of 31 life-size male sculptures perched on rooftops, standing in parks and dotting the sidewalks of the city’s Flatiron District. “Habitat” is the Gormley’s first major, permanent installation in the United States and his first commissioned piece of art in this country.
For the Anchorage installation, a flatbed truck will deliver “Habitat” from Alaska’s largest steel fabrication facility, Steelfab, to the Anchorage Museum. Sixth Avenue will be closed to allow two cranes to position the artwork on its foundation on the corner of Sixth Avenue and C Street. To minimize impact on downtown traffic, installation should be completed by 9 a.m.
At 10 a.m. Gormley will give a public talk about his sculpture in the museum auditorium, and museum visitors can enjoy a variety of children’s sculpture activities from 1 to 4 p.m.
The sculpture is a product of the Municipality’s 1 Percent for Art Program, which earmarks one percent of the available funds from a public building’s construction budget for the purpose of commissioning public art for that building. The budget for this commission was based on qualifying funds from the Anchorage Museum’s addition, which opened in May 2009. Gormley was chosen from a field of 35 artists from around the world by an Art Selection Jury that included municipal employees, museum employees, artists, Arts Advisory Commission, Urban Design Commission and museum expansion architects. The jury selected Gormley based on his past work and his enthusiastic approach to the site and the project.
The 1 Percent for Art program of the Municipality of Anchorage has been selecting and installing artwork for Anchorage municipal buildings and schools since 1978. Learn more about Antony Gormley at www.antonygormley.com