The public art installations of Cambridge, MA artist Doug Kornfeld were featured here in a blog piece just over a year ago. One of those installations included his Ozymandias sculpture at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Sadly, Ozymandias is nearing the end of its scheduled three year life in the Lincoln, MA sculpture park and will be de-installed in a farewell ceremony on Thursday, April 19, 2012. Visitors are invited to watch and the museum encourages Ozymandias fans of all ages to submit a poem in honor of, or inspired by, this popular red figure.
In the meantime, Doug Kornfeld has a new project on the horizon, and it is one that will surely have ongoing life and relevance for the residents of New Orleans, LA. He has been selected by the City of New Orleans to design and install 17 iconic sculptures as part of the Evacuteer program. These permanent pieces of steel 3D public art will also serve as hurricane evacuation pick-up point markers. They will be located in places that people can gather for transportation in the event of an emergency. The project’s design, called “Wave,” includes one monumental figure (18 feet tall) and sixteen smaller (12 feet tall) identical figures throughout the city. “Each figure is posed to suggest hailing a ride or waving. I was recently told that this gesture is used to reach for beads during Mardi Gras parades,” said Kornfeld.
Co-funded by Evacuteer and the City of New Orleans Arts Council, the project will consult with city and neighborhood groups over the coming months in order to work out the exact location of each piece.
Kornfeld’s design was selected from among over 100 applicants. He first heard about the open competition through one of the many emails he gets each week announcing public arts projects.
I got a chance to talk with Doug about the “Wave” sculpture project:
PO: What kinds of things did you have to take into consideration in planning your design?
DK: First and foremost, making something that would be understandable to everyone. Next I wanted something that would convey the idea of getting transportation. I also wanted to make sure that although it is about evacuating the city it is not something that would convey fear. The piece needs to be in the public consciousness all the time but should not make people anxious.
PO: What is the expected life span of the sculptures?
DK: The life span will be at least 25 years, but I am expecting them to last a lot longer.
PO: Is this the largest volume commission you’ve had? Is it your first multiple structure commission?
DK: Yes, this is certainly my largest commission, and I don’t know of any other artist in the US that will have 17 pieces permanently installed in a city.
PO: How did you learn that your design was selected, and how did you feel?
DK: They called me and of course I was thrilled. This is a project for New Orleans, one of the most interesting and unique cities in the world.
PO: How many visits to New Orleans will be involved and what will you do when you are there?
DK: Lots of visits, I hope. There will be meetings with the city, and lots of meeting with the different neighborhoods. Remember, these sculptures will go in 17 different locations, so lots of people and agencies will have to be consulted.
PO: Congratulations! Do you have any other thoughts to share?
DK: When I was told that I got the commission, I was also told that I would have to travel to New Orleans a number of times for the project. I corrected the New Orleans Arts Council contact person — I would not have to go to New Orleans, I would get to go to New Orleans. This is a great city. Great people, great food, great entertainment. I get to go to New Orleans and I get paid to do so!