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April 10 -12, 2014


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Quiktrip in Ferguson
Marilu Knode, Executive Director, Laumeier Sculpture Park and the Aronson Endowed Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Nov 20 2014

Quitrip antimonument2

In her book Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America, Erika Doss writes about the memorializing mania in the late 19th century as the American nation state started to solidify with the far-flung boundaries of the country finally wrested from the native peoples who lived here. Busts marking wars won, Indians killed and towns founded were slowly supplemented by bronze statues to abstract ideas such as honor as well as toga-clad busts of great European leaders.
This colonizing land grab is the pivot point upon which the country’s sense of self rests, and it is uniquely embodied in the landscape of St. Louis.

At Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014’s recent conference Monument / Anti-Monument, St. Louis’s two great, conflicting man-made objects as markers of place and of St. Louis’s place in the originary myths of America were the central, ghostly heart of our conversations. The man-made construction recognized the world over is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, aka the Gateway Arch (1947-1965), by Eero Saarinen, which presides over the Museum of Westward Expansion (1976), buried beneath the Arch’s glorious gleaming legs. The Arch, a spectacular sculpture (although this claim was challenged during our conference, with building and infrastructure arising as ways to understand the Arch), proclaims the good accomplished when Thomas Jefferson purchased land from Napoleon and, by extension, the Spanish, both of whom had slipped the continent-sized carpet out from under the feet of the Native Nations.

The other man-made works that persist in asserting their presence (despite tremendous effort to erase them) are the ancient mounds of the Mississippean peoples scattered around the St. Louis region. Archaeological digs have established that this culture flourished around 1,000 years ago, not as an outpost of the empire in Mexico City, but as a fully self-determined cultural, social and political community with its own traditions. Early Americans knew of the mounds, but later immigrants destroyed them with vengeance, thinking they were more likely made by aliens than the broken and corralled peoples of late 19th century America. The yin and yang of these monuments / anti-monuments (which is which?) provide an interesting backdrop to St. Louis’s newest monument (or anti-monument), another emblem of the past that America wishes to forget.

A visit on September 9 to Ferguson showed the Quicktrip, burned in the initial response to the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, surrounded by fencing and no protests to be seen. While many on-going peaceful protests have moved indoors to the churches and meeting halls of our area, the Quiktrip is left exposed to natural forces (of nature and cheap building materials). One recent article posted on Facebook reported that neighbors want to preserve the Quiktrip as a marker of a new civil rights movement; the fencing suggests that this damaged building will come down shortly, although recent news footage has the Quiktrip as a backdrop to a now-international outcry against our country’s persistent discrimination against people of color, particularly African Americans.

Rebecca Solnit posits that “landscape is the victim of history” in her book Savage Dreams, and indeed, St. Louis is unique in how our landscape bears the scars of our collective past while being a place where, perhaps, we might begin to reconcile to our future.

A version of this article was first published on-line in critic Mary Louise Schumacher’s Art City blog for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, inspired by Monument / Anti-Monument,
St. Louis’ Monument to the Lost Cause
Sally Webster, Professor Emerita, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Oct 22 2014
George Julian Zolnay, Confederate Monument, 1914, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO. Photo courtesy of Chris Naffziger, St. Louis Patina

St. Louis’ Confederate Memorial (1914) is located in Forest Park, a little east of the Missouri History Museum. Funded and promoted by a branch of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, it is one of many outdoor sculptures installed across the South commemorating the tradition of the Lost Cause. The Lost Cause was a movement “that sought to reconcile the traditional Southern white society to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the Civil War.” Many involved in the movement were inclined to portray the cause of the Confederacy as noble and its leaders as “exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry.”i After Reconstruction many throughout South, including Missourians, believed themselves to be victims of federal tyranny—states-rights’ advocates versus those who believed in a national government. To honor their bygone era, promoters glorified the Old South through special holidays, post-war sermons, veterans’ reunions, and ceremonies.ii Southern women helped promote the Lost Cause through the formation of memorial associations that raised funds for monuments to a vanished way of life–northern victory being viewed as an assault on southern customs and culture.

Enshrining this ethos is Forest Park’s monument to the Lost Cause designed by the Hungarian-born sculptor George Zolnay. The monument, 32-feet high, is a broad-based granite obelisk with two carvings on its face. Near the top is a barely discernible figure of the Angel of the Confederacy. Placed below is a large bronze tablet carved in high relief that depicts an emotionally charged moment of a soldier’s departure. In the center an elegantly dressed Confederate soldier stands bravely anticipating his destiny,. Surrounding him are three figures—an allegorical female image of valor and, one assumes, his mother and younger brother. Valor is the soldier’s determined guide while the hooded maternal figure views him with painful acceptance. Below and to the left, a young boy holds the Confederate flag and gazes upward with stalwart admiration. On the reverse of the monument are quotations by a St. Louis soldier who fought for the Confederacy and a second by Robert E. Lee.

Zolnay was a popular artist in nearby University City where he was director of the newly formed Art Academy of the People’s University. Familiar to most residents of U. City are the lions (one is actually a tiger) he carved for the city’s entry gates. He also served as art director for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and was a much sought after sculptor of Confederate monuments.

But what is the meaning of Zolnay’s monument today? Is it just a relic of a bygone era or can it be seen as a potent reminder that the tensions of the Civil War era are still with us? While the era of the Lost Cause represented by St. Louis monument may be over, the fight for civil rights remains.


A pool, a pavilion, a decoy: Mary Miss’s Pool Complex
James McAnally, Co-Director and Curator, The Luminary
Sep 24 2014


Mary Miss, Pool Complex at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Photo courtesy of Ken McCown.

At the end of a path in Laumeier Sculpture Park, where the borders of the park begin to blur with its suburban surrounds, sits a complex by Mary Miss. The permanent installation Pool Complex: Orchard Valley (1983-1985) is built on and with an abandoned pool, her own wooden lattices extending its life by a generation at best. Centered around the inverted earthwork of the concrete Depression-era swimming pool, Miss lined its outside rim with paths, fences and covered pavilions that is today at various stages of wear and weathering. Pool Complex in both its form and material is more suggestive of scaffolding than a finished structure, as if it is meant to not just be maintained, but expanded. It neither transforms the ruin into a new use, nor passively accepts the rubble; it finds some other path in which the ruin itself expands outward into an unstable present. The piece is surprising, a discovery after you thought your work as a viewer at an institution was over. When you are just walking along on a path; when you think both the sculpture park and the city may have ended.

Mary Miss, Perimeters/Pavilions/Decoys at Nassau County Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Mary Miss’s iconic Perimeters/Pavilions/Decoys (1977-1978 ) at the Nassau County Museum of Art, with its underground courtyard, towers and embankments, points to the pool, whose own depressed form is balanced by her aging wood structures filling in where swimmers stood, filling in where backyard partiers posed, filling in for an estate aged out. Her work benefits from a blurred border, a true vernacular in which her voice may be missed and we find ourselves activated by the idea of a ruin, the unfailing surprise at rediscovering a human hand and its failure of persistence. The ruin’s failure foregrounds our will to build, to fill all empty spaces. To make a mark, to articulate our presence. Pool Complex builds outward in order to remind us of the absence that envelops it.

Navigating a St. Louis city street, you will inevitably see a brick building buckling, ready to collapse, or a slight swell on an otherwise empty lot where our inherited histories have been cleared away. Art extends beyond our borders, stretches where we thought the institution ended, to a ruin and an extension of that ruin that delays the inevitable collapse of structure. Pool Complex‘s legacy is interesting in a city whose ruins are still expanding. How do we extend, not erase them? What structures could they support that do not exist yet? To build from a ruin as a ruin. Not to transcribe but to transform. Pool Complex reminds us that there are still structures to build in a hollowed out earth. A pool, a pavilion, a decoy.
Accept No Substitutes: “Placebo” by Roxy Paine
Lenore Metrick-Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Art & Design, Drake University
Aug 19 2014


Photo courtesy of Kiku Obata

*This article is the second post of a two part series about Roxy Paine’s “Placebo”

At the end of her beautiful essay Molly Moog mentioned how Placebo by Roxy Paine raises contradictions. She wrote, “They expose the paradoxical line between art and nature.” And that’s where I’d like to begin.  

Placebo is a brainteaser of an artwork, a stainless steel tree set in a park, the sight of which is part appealing, part appalling. Through its exposure of ambiguities between art and nature it leads us to play a game, questioning what criteria we want when we call something ‘natural.’

But let’s first clarify definitions. What is the purpose of a placebo? The dictionary lists three ways to frame it: “to reinforce a patient’s expectation to get well.” And “to test the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.” And “Something of no intrinsic remedial value that is used to appease or reassure another.”(i) Collaging them all together, a general definition could be “something that one group substitutes clandestinely for another substance, to achieve a benefit, mainly of reassurance, for another group.”

A placebo tests its own efficacy as well as that of the reagent. But the relationships between placebo and active ingredient, between testers and those tested upon, are porous and can interchange. For instance, the placebo is selected because it is functionally neutral but with some sleight of hand – or rather, mind – those unaware of the substitution will experience some of the benefits offered by the “real thing.” And if the placebo doesn’t work, they can become those who now know of the substitution.

Most often placebos are benign substitutions for potentially powerful drugs. What is Placebo a placebo for? An obvious possibility is: a natural tree. Is the artist trying to have his artwork accepted as a tree? Is it a test to see what is sufficient for a tree-ness? A game: how is it a tree; how is it not a tree? But, if he wanted to, he could have slipped in an artwork molded into a perfect facsimile of a tree. With technology these days, the trompe l’oeil (fool-the-eye) factor could have been nearly perfect. Had he made a fake tree look just like a real tree, our discovery of that deception would have been the end of the story.

But instead Paine went in a different direction and couldn’t have made this object more different from a natural tree- the shiny metallic surface just can’t be overlooked. Oh yes, he added the realistic detail of tree fungi! But going to the extent of that detail, but not adding the detail of, say, a leaf or two only emphasizes the illusion of the work. Although permanently suspended in skeletal state, even in the wintertime, when all the deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, it won’t blend in. Its shiny and polished shiny trunk, its fabricated limbs: not even close. Plus, he titled it Placebo!

The artist couldn’t have gone to greater lengths to make it clear, although his piece is very like a tree in form scale and context, it is not a real tree. And really, we never thought it was! We might enjoy the vacillating tree/not tree experience, but at the same time, we resist it. We already always know that we are playing a game. That tree can never be neutral – whereas placebo is neutral and blind.‘Placebo’ in this case could only be an oxymoron because it is unanimously known to not be a real tree. The title could only be meant ironically.

Unless. Unless we answer that the tree is a placebo not for nature but for art. This gets more complex. When we tried to fit Placebo into nature as ‘tree’ we ended up viewing it more and more as art. But imagine the comparison not between the treeness of Placebo to other trees but the artfulness of Placebo to the artifice of “nature.” Placebo fails as a placebo only if we try to bend this artwork into nature. But it hasn’t failed when we recognize the placebo as a substation not for nature but for art. We are testing to see if it can be accepted because of its artifice.

Let me clarify. Placebo is situated in Forest Park, surrounded by trees and grass. A wild setting would be more natural but far less comfortable, nontraversable, not conducive to joggers. So we have no trouble accepting the manicured knolls as an uncultivated habitat as we mow, clip, and spread them with chemicals. In fact we don’t even perceive them as a substitution for the mud and dirt and weeds of an actual natural environment.

We even accept grass as indigenous! But Placebo just went too far. With its reflective material – and its self –reflective name –it showed itself as art and gave the game away.

This takes us away from the match game we played at first: metal tree = natural tree. It makes us regard context. Placebo turns the question around, away from itself, to question the naturalness of the planted trees. Looking around, we realize these trees are not indigenous to this place. Well, even if a few are, they are all completely domesticated.

We suddenly see it. All these trees and the park itself are placebo. We are surrounded by art functioning, placebo-like, for nature. They have been slipped in, part of our built world but appearing to be a natural landscape, to grant us that feeling that we can get away from the human constructions, a respite from civilization and its discontents and into something more genuine. A return to nature, the peace and ease of a verdant world.

In every use of “placebo” two realities are created. One is that of believers. The other is that of those in the know, those privy to the substitution. Placebo places us all in the privy situation. The artist wants us to be in this position. Not the deceived audience but the enlightened audience. He wants the half-life of the placebo effect, the belief in the sameness of Placebo and nature, to be very short, if at all. Placebo does its best to augment our incredulity, which anyway was almost immediate. It situates us on the side of knowing. We try to imagine ourselves (back) in the believer state of mind. But we’ve seen the ‘man behind the curtain’ and can’t undo that knowledge.

Through this art play we find that we had actually been in the unaware group. And with that knowledge comes a dawning suspicion. We wonder: what else have we missed? Can any placebo placate forever?

Researchers emphasize the positive side of placebos. That, although placebos are “based on false information,” nevertheless “their use in the correct place is to be encouraged.”(ii) They are a temporary measure, an expediency. A bridge to a better situation.

But currently, all kinds of artificialities are being substituted under the name ‘natural,’ and generally in processes that seem out of our control. How much technology do we want in our nature? Genetically modified foods for instance: it looks like a tomato but might trigger fish allergies. What is “unadulterated?” How much can be altered before we protest that the original is gone?  Like that riddle: a boat with 100 passengers travels around the world and at every port, something on it is removed and replaced- the first port all the masts are changed, the next the hull, and so on. By the time the ship returns nothing on it is the original. Have the passengers returned on the same ship that left the port? Is there a moment when the ship is no longer itself?

has both quick-acting and time-release effects. Its slick surface and its title take us directly to the end game – we start at the point where we know it’s not the real thing. Through its artifice it calls into question other substitutions. This lets us play another game – seeing everything is both real and not quite so. How do we define nature and real? Placebo demonstrates that everything is relational. Our categories of “real” and “placebo” depend on what else is in the group.

Ultimately, we test our own limits and desires. How much ‘real’ do we want? Where do we want something natural and when is artifice preferred? It’s the game we play unconsciously with all art the interplay between illusionism and being a thing in itself.

Artworks test categories, they cross boundaries, expose ideology. With works of art we are all put in the position of those in the know.  Placebo is an invitation to play – and playing cuts through categories and rearranges the world.

(ii) Archie, Cochrane, A.L.: Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services. The Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust 1972, p 31. Cited in Wikipedia

Placebo Effect
Molly Moog, Research Assistant, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, Saint Louis Art Museum
Aug 09 2014


Roxy Paine, American, born 1966; Placebo, 2004; stainless steel; 56 ft. x 46 ft. 6 in.; Saint Louis Art Museum, Commissioned by the Saint Louis Art Museum with funds given in memory of John Wooten Moore 38:2004. © Roxy Paine

*This article is one of a two part series about Roxy Paine’s “Placebo”.

Stretching its tangled metal limbs up toward the sky, the 56 foot tall sculpture Placebo stands in a small clearing on the west side of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Placebo is one of a series of stainless-steel tree sculptures made by the artist Roxy Paine. Paine refers to these sculptures as Dendroids (the word dendroid means tree-like). Placebo was commissioned by the Saint Louis Art Museum in 2004 at the suggestion of donor Terry Moore, who funded the commission in memory of her late husband, John Wooten Moore. As the title indicates, Placebo is not a tree, but rather an imitation of one. A placebo is an inert medication or treatment prescribed to a patient, sometimes as an experimental control.(i) In other words, it is not the “real thing.” Extraordinarily, the “placebo effect” occurs when a patient’s misinformed anticipation of greater wellbeing actually leads to the alleviation of symptoms, proving the connection between mind and body. The word placebo originates from the Latin word for “I shall please,” begging the question, in the case of Roxy Paine’s Placebo, can a replica be as pleasing as the real thing?

Placebo’s elegant and attenuated branches are made from stainless steel tubing, cantilevered and welded in place in the tree’s smooth, metal trunk.The industrial material and systematic construction of the Dendroid suggest humankind’s desire to control and replicate the natural landscape of which we ourselves are a part. Look no further than Saint Louis’s Forest Park, where Placebo is situated, for an example of this. Although the name would indicate a wild, wooded tract, Forest Park was originally designed as a driving park in the 1870s by park superintendent Maximillian G. Kern. Early visitors in horse-drawn carriages could take in carefully-arranged vistas and enjoy eleven man-made lakes.(ii) Placebo is, like Forest Park, a man-made amalgam that could never exist naturally. A single sculpture, it displays the features of several distinct species of North American deciduous trees.

The various titles of Roxy Paine’s Dendroids allude to the relationship between the sculptures and the natural and built environments in which they are situated. The first Dendroid, Impostor, was commissioned in 1999 by the Wanås Foundation in Sweden. Another sculpture previously installed in 2002 in New York City’s Central Park bears the title Bluff. With their cold stainless steel trunks they stand out as alien among the trees that encircle them. Their spindly branches frozen as though swaying in the breeze, the Dendroids exist permanently in the present. They will remain standing long after the surrounding trees die and are replaced by new saplings. In this respect a Dendroid, like a still life painting or a photograph, is a representation and a perpetuation of a single moment. In sixteenth and seventeenth century Dutch still lifes, a withered flower or a fly perched on a piece fruit served as examples of vanitas, or the fleeting nature of earthly life. Placebo also exhibits the symptoms of decline and decomposition. Upon closer examination, several of the tree’s leafless branches are roughly broken off and metal shelf fungi sprout invasively from its trunk. Like the decaying fruit in a Dutch still life, these traces of the process of deterioration serve as memento mori—reminders to the viewer of the inevitability of death.

Roxy Paine constructs his Dendroids from stainless steel because of the material’s connotations of permanence, preserving the tree in a state of enduring decline.(iii) Living and dead, real and fake, natural and unnatural, Roxy Paine’s Dendroids are full of contradictions. They expose the paradoxical line between art and nature. In the artist’s words, Placebo represents “the idea that someone’s mental state in relation to an object can change that substance.” Isn’t this, after all, a foundational concept of contemporary art?(iv)

(i) Olivia Judson, “Enhancing the Placebo,”New York Times, May 4, 2010, A3.
(ii) Carrie Loughlin and Catherine Anderson, Forest Park (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press and the Junior League of St. Louis, 1986), 15-16.
(iii) Lynn M. Herbert, “Interview with Roxy Paine,” in Roxy Paine: Second Nature (Houston: The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 2002), 19.
(iv) David Bonetti, “The ‘Placebo’ Effect,”St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 5, 2004.
Looking Upward to Look Outward: Olafur Eliasson’s Your Imploded View
Margaret Sherer, Curatorial Intern, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
Jun 16 2014


When walking into the atrium of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, looking upward may not seem like the first thing one should do, but taking more than a cursory glance at Olafur Eliasson’s Your Imploded View (2001) is certainly worth the effort. The first time I encountered this work I was visiting the museum for an undergraduate class assignment, and only momentarily noticed the 660-lb polished aluminum sphere hanging from the ceiling as I walked into the building. Now, as a graduate student in the art history department of Washington University, I have the opportunity to see Your Imploded View as I enter the building almost every day, and each time is a completely new experience. The highly polished surface of the 51-inch diameter sphere reflects and transforms the world it inhabits, both activating the museum space and being activated by it. The work not only softly mirrors the physical bodies and artwork surrounding it, creating visual associations with objects in the space, but also encourages various conceptual associations. The large sphere, hanging like a pendulum, calls to mind a wrecking ball in all of its weight and destructive power. Simultaneously, the reflective surface and placement are unavoidably reminiscent of a large disco ball. Such disparate referential imagery encourages complex reactions in viewing it, while the continuously altering reflected landscape compels one to spend time with it and watch it change.

Walking by the sculpture on a regular basis, I cannot help but smile when I glance up and see the distorted artwork and architecture of the museum around me. The view varies depending on the art currently on view and on the presence of others in the space, and my experience varies with it. Consistent, though, is the reminder to be conscious of my surroundings and also of my interaction with it. In this way the work provides a comfortable feeling of awareness and enlightenment. If standing directly under or very close to it, however, the sculpture invites very different feelings. The solid aluminum sphere looms only a few feet above the viewer’s head, suspended by a cable that never seems to the person standing beneath it to be as thick as it should be. The uneasiness felt by the pregnant space between the sphere and one’s body underneath only increases if the sculpture is pushed. As it swings back and forth, tension heightens while the surface constantly changes and disorients. Eventually returning to stillness, though, any possible feelings of trepidation fade away, and the sculpture again becomes an integral part of the museum interior.

It is the power of Your Imploded View to inspire diverse, layered, and vital responses that make seeing it, whether for the first time or almost every day, worth looking up.

Photo Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum, Washington University
Where the air is rarified
Genevieve Cortinovis, Research Assistant on “St. Louis Modern”—an exhibition exploring modern architecture and design in St. Louis, opening in fall 2015—Department of Decorative Arts and Design, Saint Louis Art Museum
Apr 21 2014



Lambert St. Louis International Airport Terminal, interior, wall decoration. Ezra Stoller Archive. Artstor,

A little girl in saddle shoes, feet barely touching the ground, sinks into an Eames DAX-style armchair. The back of her head, covered in a demure cap, brushes one of the many colorful squares of an airy partition shielding coffee shop patrons from Lambert’s main terminal. She is dwarfed by Yamasaki’s soaring arches, enveloped in a sea of geometry—squares of terrazzo underfoot, rectangular panes of glass overhead.

It is 1956. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is freshly minted the “Grand Central of the Air” by Architectural Forum, a model for future airport terminals. By 1966, just a decade later, it will have expanded (as it was always meant to with initial plans for up to three additional vaults).[ii] Somewhere in the shuffle, it will have lost three of its most memorable assets—two reclining figures by Henry Moore that languidly guarded the main terminal entrance and a forty-eight-foot screen by artist and designer Harry Bertoia composed of hundreds of metal squares, solid foils and intriguing frames suspended on thin chrome poles.  The Moores were yanked in 1970 by lenders Isabel and Howard Baer, after Howard Baer who served on the airport commission from 1954-1970 concluded the airport environment with its constant commotion and construction made the sculptures “almost ill at ease.” [iii]  The Bertoia disappeared during a renovation in the late 1960s, allegedly hacked apart and buried in a south city dump—“three-and-a-half months of continuous work” by a modern master lost.[iv] Albeit achingly brief, Lambert’s golden age of public sculpture must have been beautiful.

In this period, often presented under a haze of nostalgia, TWA agents wore uniforms designed by the Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain. Kitty Hawk diners sat in shiny chrome-legged chairs covered in orange naugahyde.[v] There was no such thing as an oversold flight. You could travel from St. Louis to Los Angeles direct without ever being patted down or patronized or forced to take off your shoes.  What you could not do was have a martini. Due to some shady political negotiations, alcohol was forbidden in St. Louis Lambert-International airport in its early years.[vi]  And although you may have heard of the fresh-faced flight attendants in pill box hats and white gloves, chances are you had never actually laid eyes upon them: “In 1965, no more than 20 percent of Americans had ever flown in an airplane.”[vii] Before the deregulation of the airlines in 1978, tickets were grossly expensive.

So while you are enjoying a beer at the Schlafly Tap Room, examining an electronic ticket whose price (adjusted for inflation) is about half of what is was in the mid-1950s, consider what may turn out to be the true heyday of air travel. Accessibility often comes at the cost of glamour. Thankfully, it is still nearly impossible to suck all the wonder out of air travel. Flying, for most humans, remains a marvel. 

Lambert energetically continues its tradition of public art installation—the luminous glass panels designed by local artists in concourses A and C are a personal favorite—but however unfairly (after all, it’s hard to compete with the dead), I can’t help but yearn for the sense of spectacle that dazzling Bertoia screen must have had. That kind of presence is often best conveyed through sculpture, particularly the forty-eight-foot fluttering variety.   For now, one of Bertoia’s delicate four-foot long maquettes for the screen and Ian Monroe’s 2011 colorful vinyl collage memorializing the fallen artwork, appropriately titled ghost, will have to do. They, as well as Henry Moore’s Reclining Figures, are in the collection of another barrel-vaulted St. Louis institution: Lambert’s loss, I am happy to report, is the Saint Louis Art Museum’s gain.    

Lambert.Henry Moore. Reclining Figure_web

Henry Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 1, 1959 and Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 2,  1960 at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.  Image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum   © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2014 / *

 Ian Monroe_web

 Ian Monroe, American, born 1972; ghost, 2011; vinyl on acrylic; 12 3/4 x 21 1/4 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Henry L. and Natalie Edison Freund Charitable Trust  147:2011 © Ian Monroe

[i] Sammy Cahn, “Come Fly with Me” (song lyrics), 1957.
[ii] “Grand Central of the Air. From the ground and from above, its three sweeping cross-vaults extend an air-age welcome to St. Louis. Inside its great room travelers are treated to efficiency and spectacle.” Architectural Forum, May 1956, 106.
[iii] Howard F. Baer, St. Louis to Me, (St. Louis: Hawthorne, 1978), 250-251. The Baers acquired the sculpture for Lambert from the artist in 1961 at the behest of a selection committee that included architect Gyo Obata and Saint Louis Art Museum Director William Eisendrath. Coincidentally, Isabel Baer’s mother Edith Aloe financed Carl Milles’ Meeting of the Waters in front of Union Station, another of St. Louis’s public sculpture gems.
[iv] From an undated list of Bertoia’s expenses in the artist’s archive.
[v] Rolf E. Kuenter of Hellmuth, Yamasaki & Leinweber to Harry Bertoia on November 3, 1955. 
[vi] Howard F. Baer, St. Louis to Me, (St. Louis: Hawthorne, 1978), 93.
[vii] Derek Thompson, “How Airline Ticket Prices Fell 50% in 30 Years (and Why Nobody Noticed),” The Atlantic, February 28, 2013.
* Reproduction, including downloading of Henry Moore works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Re-envisioning Richard Serra’s “Twain”
Ann-Maree Walker, research assistant, department of prints, drawings and photographs, Saint Louis Art Museum
Mar 24 2014

I first encountered Richard Serra’s public sculpture Twain, in 2006 after I moved to St. Louis. I was exploring the city on foot when I approached the silent and seemingly impenetrable steel
monolith.  It felt like the ruins of a post-apocalyptic landscape with marks of a past civilization etched onto the structure’s oxidized metal walls.  As I walked through the austere site towards the plaque that identified the piece, I let out an “a-ha” as I read the name of the artist.  It began to make sense to me why Serra is frequently criticized for creating imposing and intimidating sculpture in unfriendly environments.  Little did I know that eight years later I would be organizing an exhibition of Serra’s drawings related to Twain and culling through archival material only to discover that, back in 2006, I was looking at a shadow of the artist’s original vision for the sculpture’s site.   

Photograph of “Twain” during construction, St. Louis, 1982  © Robert Pettus  © 2014 Richard Serra / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY

Serra was awarded his first public commission in the United States by the city of St. Louis in 1974.  A full city block was allocated for the commission, just east of the Civil Courts Building on the Gateway Mall.  It was an opportunity that attracted the young artist due to its proximity to the groundbreaking design of the Gateway Arch by Eero Saarinen, which was less than 10 years old at the time.  Serra thought of his proposed structure—a quadrilateral arrangement of eight steel plates—as the dark horizontal counterpart to the bright vertical arch. 

Sculpture in the early 1970s was defined by site-specificity.  Artists, like Serra, were more interested in integrating artworks into the surrounding environment than creating free-standing sculptures on pedestals. For the St. Louis commission, he imagined a sculpture within a park-like setting that would draw people in off of the street to spend time exploring inside and around the large structure.  The tall steel walls would provide physical refuge from the sights and sounds of traffic when inside the sculpture, while the 2-foot openings between each of the steel plates framed strategic views out towards the surrounding intersections, civic buildings and the Arch. 

The St. Louis project proved to be a challenging undertaking for Serra.  Nearly a decade passed before final approval was granted for Twain.  Evolving ideas about the Gateway Mall slowed the process, as well as public concern.  Many in the community were wary of Serra’s design, which was neither commemorative nor ornate in a traditional sense.  The sculpture required something new from its viewers: participation and a spirit of curiosity.   

Detail of an architectural plan generated by the St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry for the landscaping of “Twain”, 1983, Saint Louis Art Museum Archives

Final approval came at the end of 1981, and shortly thereafter, he began carrying out his plans for the landscaping around the sculpture, which was an integral part of the artwork.   Each detail from the plant material to the furniture was hand-selected by Serra.  The site was leveled and the eight steel plates were anchored into place.  The city block was then re-graded to the original slope of the Missouri Plateau, which subtly falls southeast towards the Mississippi River.  Sod provided an instant lawn inside and around the sculpture.  No paths were planned except those made by future foot traffic.  Serra had no objection to the worn paths eventually being paved, but he did not want to determine how people would navigate the site.  30 high-leafing trees—sycamores, pin oaks, scarlet oaks and red maples—were eventually to rise 80 to 100 feet above the sculpture.  The trees were strategically planted around Twain so as not to block the views of the city.  24 Victorian-style benches and a dozen elegant lamp posts were chosen to light the surrounding area.  From its current appearance in 2014, it is hard to imagine that Serra intended Twain, with all of its hardness and geometry, to be surrounded by the softness of what he described as an “English-style” landscape.  

Serra recognized that it would take at least two years before the trees matured enough to provide shade and character to the site.  Sadly, within that two year period between the sculpture’s dedication in 1982 and 1984, 11 of the 30 trees that had been planted died.  The grass also became patchy and in need of regular watering; the benches and lamp posts were never installed.  An accumulation of graffiti and drainage issues have further diminished its overall appearance.  For the past 32 years, the city has been in charge of its maintenance and care, but ongoing budget constraints have left the Serra Park in a state of limbo. 

The Saint Louis Art Museum is in possession of an important group of drawings by Serra given by the artist, as well as documents relating to the Twain project, thanks to the Arts and Humanities Council and Emily Rauh Pulitzer.  These manipulated photographs and drawings, along with invoices, letters, engineering schematics, architectural drawings, and models tell the story of Serra’s intentions for the city block just east of the courthouse.  As one can observe today, the present appearance of Twain and its surroundings are vastly different from what the artist originally conceived.  With its proximity to Citygarden, the successful new sculpture park run by the Gateway Foundation, perhaps it is an opportune time for the Serra Park to undergo a revitalization of its own.     

Sight Lines: Richard Serra’s Drawings for ‘Twain’ is an exhibition of drawings, photographs and a steel model detailing the extensive planning for Twain. It will be on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum from March 28 through September 7, 2014. 

Ecology of the Pruitt-Igoe Forest
Juan William Chavez, artist and cultural activist
Mar 10 2014


Vacancy is part of the everyday in North Saint Louis where vacant buildings and lots dominate chunks of neighborhoods and interrupt blocks. While living with vacancy can have negative effects on the surrounding communities and the city as a whole, to observe beyond this blight has the potential to inspire dialogue, build community and develop a vision for the future.

The former Pruitt–Igoe site is currently an impressive urban forest that grew over the 33-acres that remained after the housing project was leveled. Through my exploration of the history and space, Pruitt-Igoe began influencing my art practice in 2010. Researching the ecology of the Pruitt-Igoe forest inspired me to transform a vacant site in the Old North neighborhood into a green space to serve as a safe haven for bees with plenty of sources of nectar from growing flowers. This action created an ecosystem on this vacant site, and now serves as a living classroom for community art and educational workshops. Once residents, visitors and passers-by could see all this activity taking shape, the site itself began to engage the public by encouraging conversations and interactions with the potential to strengthen the community. Observing vacancy in this manner can begin to reveal interventions like this as public art.

Creative Placemaking, Socially Engaged Practice, or Community-based Art can all be used to describe an artist working within a community to address issues or needs. Much like our lot in Old North, the Pruitt–Igoe site today can also be viewed as public art by redirecting the conversation surrounding its history to both memorialize the past and embrace the future. Together as a city we have the ability to transform one of the worst failures of public housing into a leading example of revitalization.

Juan will be one of the panelists at the upcoming Monument / Anti-Monument Conference, April 10-12 in St. Louis.


Photos by Juan William Chavez

Daniel Chester French’s “Peace and Vigilance”
Bradley Bailey, associate professor of art history, St. Louis University
Feb 28 2014


There is a hidden gem of public sculpture just two blocks north of the outstanding offerings at Citygarden and Serra Sculpture Park in downtown St. Louis. Beautifully restored and displayed in the central atrium of the Old Post Office at 815 Olive Street, Daniel Chester French’s Peace and Vigilance (or American at War and Peace) is a link to St. Louis’ cultural and architectural past. With a highly prolific career that includes two of the most recognizable sculptures in American art history, the stalwart champion of the American Revolution the Minute Man (1874) and the iconic statue of the seated President Abraham Lincoln (1920) in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., French stands amongst the most respected names in nineteenth-century American sculpture.

One of three commissions that French accepted for federal buildings in three major American cities (Philadelphia, Boston, and St. Louis) designed in the French Second Empire style by architect Alfred B. Mullett, the St. Louis commission was to be located at the base of the quadrangular dome of St. Louis’ United States Customs House and Post Office, which opened its doors to the public in 1884. With no specification as to subject or theme, French began work on Peace and Vigilance in November 1876, and the half-scale plaster model of the figural group was delivered in April 1878 to the renowned Philadelphia stone carvers William Struthers & Sons, who executed the full-sized composition in marble. Flanking an imposing bald eagle with outstretched wings representing the United States, the allegorical figure of Vigilance to the eagle’s left clutches her respective attribute, the sword, and appears tense and prepared for action as she vigorously scans her surroundings, while Peace on the right loosely grasps her symbol, the olive branch, as she stares dreamily at the street below with her head resting languidly on the back of her hand. The arrangement of the group certainly owes a debt to Michelangelo’s tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo de’ Medici in the Medici Chapel in Florence, which French no doubt experienced firsthand during the eighteen months he spent working in the studio of the esteemed American sculptor Thomas Ball in Florence between 1874 and 1876.

Weathered by over a century of exposure to the environment before it was brought indoors and replaced by a cement replica in 1990, Peace and Vigilance is now accessible in a way it never was before. Installed just feet away from the viewer and lit by the enormous skylights above, this remarkable statuary group gives one the sense of what it would have been like to float above the streets of St. Louis a century ago, where the larger-than-life expressions of powerful figures surveyed the emerging city’s rising skyline. 

Thanks to the websites of the Old Post Office ( and Jamaica Plains Historical Society (, as well as the highly informative book Sculpture City: St. Louis by former Post-Dispatch art and urban design critic George McCue.

Photo by Bradley Bailey

Gigantic, All The Way Around
Robert Duffy, campaign director, St. Louis Public Radio & The Beacon
Feb 10 2014


My favorite sculpture in St. Louis is a big boy called “Joe.”

It arrived in St. Louis in 2000, having crossed the Atlantic by ship from Germany. The morning was clear, blue and golden when a gaggle of art lovers (and a cheerful golden retriever) made its way to a dock north of downtown. There we welcomed this gigantic new sculpture to the St. Louis region and
observed the laborious process of lifting it from Mississippi River barges for the last couple of miles of its journey. Joe was headed for Grand Center, to be installed in the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts’ plaza.

Cranes labored to lift the five massive sections of Richard Serra’s torqued spiral weathering steel sculpture up from the barges to be loaded on flatbed trucks. The truck beds, I swear, literally groaned under the weight of steel. Once loaded, a most unusual convoy made its way from the city’s north riverfront to Grand Center, where, eventually, the pieces were connected and sculpture was conjoined into a magnificent whole.

“Gigantic” happens to be an appropriate description of the sculpture, literally and metaphorically. It is sizeable indeed in so many ways: in weight, volume, in historical importance, in influence, in imagination.

Serra’s work has been greeted in St. Louis with various degrees of respect (by aficionados) and the animosity of detractors. “Twain,” is his sculpture on the Gateway Mall. “Twain” makes visual references to Eero Saarinen’s Jefferson National Expansion Memorial — the Arch — in a tough, segmented variation, a synthesis of geometric realism and fragmented abstraction. In spite of the clear relevance to St. Louis and the punch-in-the-gut power of this early 1980s masterwork, “Twain” has been a lightning rod for criticism and misunderstanding, never mind the positive attention it has brought to the city from art lovers from around the world.

On some fundamental level, however, “Joe” has elevated the regional arts consciousness and quite rightfully has afforded Richard Serra St. Louis celebrity status to go along with his high profile internationally. “Joe” is a major feature of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in Grand Center and is a welcoming and lyrical attraction to visitors. The sculpture gives clear and poignant homage to the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr., editor and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a prime mover in the establishment of the Pulitzer Foundation. Emily Rauh Pulitzer, founder and chair, has worked unstintingly to see Tadao Ando’s foundation building to completion and to establish this dynamic organization as a major U.S. cultural institution. She has nourished the foundation from the earliest days, and as its chief has brought it to international prominence. Its name, “Joe,” makes me happy whenever I think of it, because it seals so magnificently the friendship and collaborations of patron and artist.

I’ve not touched on its referential qualities – to “Spiral Jetty,” for example, or to its kinship to the natural world – think of the chambered nautilus. But what matters most is the ineffable, the deep philosophical and visceral pleasure “Joe” brings me, and its demonstration of the powers of light and darkness and the play of shadows, and its astonishingly brilliant revelations of sky and atmosphere. I think of it often, and on all visits, I feel a sense of the majesty of an alliance of art and nature, and a gratitude too for the courage of artist and patron for creating it and bringing it home to St. Louis.

Photo by Robert Duffy

It’s Never to Late to Rethink Monuments
Jack Becker, founder / executive director, Forecast Public Art
Jan 15 2014


I was born and raised in St. Louis, where Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch looms large over the city, setting it apart from any other place on earth. Nearing 50 years old, I see the arch as a new kind of monument, one that offers a bold kind of healing power to its presence in the landscape. In 1963, I was in the third grade, and everyone in my class was assigned to write something to put in a time capsule later buried underneath a leg of the arch. I forgot what I wrote, but I take comfort knowing that whatever I penned, it’s safely buried under one of the world’s greatest monuments, a 630-foot stainless steel structure commemorating the 200th birthday of St. Louis, “Gateway to the West.” In fact, I think every third grader in the city participated in the time capsule, making it a truly participatory public art project.

As award winning architect Joan Serrano once said: “There are shapes and proportions and rhythms that feel good to the human body. A lot of them relate to nature… It’s a very universal thing we can all connect with.” The arch has a beauty of balance and harmony. It commands our gaze and rewards it tenfold. From afar, it acts as a beacon, connecting its entire community. Up close, it can’t help but inspire and uplift spirits. Beyond that, it just feels right. I can’t imagine how it could be improved.

Basically, monuments—large or small—seek to remind us of someone or something. But why is the need to commemorate so strong? Throughout history, and in most cultures, the act of commemorating is pervasive. It takes forms that are extremely diverse. It’s safe to say that more time, energy, and money have been spent on memorials and monuments than any other kind of public art. Today, there are hundreds of projects underway from polished bronzes in our nation’s capital to rag-tag shrines alongside our rural highways. From heroes on horses to T-shirts hanging on clotheslines, commemorative public art can help us rethink our past and reconsider the common ground we share. Monuments and memorials can help us face our mortality, address intensely personal emotions, or contemplate complex, global questions. They can offer us solace and help heal wounds.

While the process of producing public monuments can pull people together, it can also tear people apart—it’s not hard to imagine wars being fought over war memorials. But memorials and monuments are not for the dead; they are reminders for the living. They can help us put things in perspective and get on with our lives. In so doing, we need to ask how we want others to remember us, and consider future generations. Indeed, this sort of forward thinking is a powerful—even noble—motivating force for those involved in this often bittersweet field of public art.

As we continue to remind ourselves about our world—what we know of it, what we choose to reflect and what we leave behind—let’s hope that, by the time the time capsule under the arch is opened, someone will acknowledge that we were headed in the right direction.

Jack Becker is founder and executive director of Forecast Public Art, a 35-year-old nonprofit based in Minnesota. This essay was drawn from Becker’s writing for Forecast’s magazine, Public Art Review (

Photo by Daniel Schwen,  Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Inflatable Snowman: An American Folk-Art Tradition
Dana Turkovic, curator of exhibitions, Laumeier Sculpture Park
Dec 12 2013


In his book Merry Christmas America, author Bruce Littlefield sheds some light on the history of outdoor Christmas decorations:  “We use our houses as a painter would a canvas turning normally shy facades into colorfully, brightly lit statements.”  Homes are animated, illuminated, wrapped in red bows and littered with inflatable snowmen. Every neighborhood has that house with megawatt appeal and visitors queue up to gaze upon these front yard exhibits by driving slowly in packed vehicles listening to Bing Crosby and enjoying hot cocoa. But is this Christmas-decorating obsession also the installation work of an American folk artist?

These Christmas trimmings are great displays of the homeowner’s expression and can make even the most ambitious Olafur Eliasson look understated. These homestead portraits of Christmas range in tackiness and thematic ingenuity; all are an appealing tribute to the American folk-art tradition of transporting the simple “tree in the window” into a front yard holiday spectacle. For many families, going to see local holiday light displays is a yearly tradition. Even the most refined art lover can appreciate this festive creative endeavor, so cruise the neighborhood and commercial displays in your area.

PHOTO Anthony 92931. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Critical Public Art
Glenn Harper, editor, Sculpture Magazine
Nov 15 2013


Art historian and critic Rosalyn Deutsche suggests that art makes its own public space, a space that depends on conflict rather than solidarity. Her point of view on public space leads to an art of diversity rather than an art of commonality or majority, an art that maintains an active relationship with the public rather than a passive decoration or affirmation of the status quo.

To develop and support this active, critical public art,  we need to reconfirm what the artist does as an artist—and that often is indeed a resistance to, rather than an affirmation, of community or the public program. As art critic and curator Patricia Phillips says, public art should “embrace the multiple conditions of public life—and not the singular view promoted by the sponsor of projects, the public agency, or the private developer.” The art that Deutsch and Phillips discuss is often temporary or performative, such as the projects of Krzysztof Wodiczko or Mierle Ukeles.

The art covered by the International Sculpture Center’s recent book Artists Reclaim the Commons is also frequently performative, sometimes permanent, and sometimes decidedly ephemeral, work by artists such as Amy Young and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. This work is more frequently commissioned by curators or arts organizations (or the artists themselves) than by public agencies, but surely the more official engines of public art are also capable of freeing artists to imagine new ways of being in public and new possibilities for life in a diverse public space. It will certainly take all those involved in public art, working in tandem and with all the traditional and contemporary materials and processes available to them, to constantly and progressively renew the common space where, even if we are looking down at our phones as we walk through it, we live.

PHOTO: Krzysztof Wodiczko, St. Louis Projection, St. Louis Public Library, 2004

St. Louis’ Invisible Monument: Mill Creek Valley
Michael Allen, director, Preservation Research Office
Oct 22 2013


Stand at the intersection of Market Street and Jefferson Avenue on the edge of downtown St. Louis, and look around. The black mirror-glass cavalcade of a corporate citadel anchors the northwest corner. Across the street on the other points are two largely unmemorable office buildings and a parking lot.

This landscape could be anywhere in America – nothing about it tells of a particular history. Yet here is where the invisible traces of St. Louis’ largest and most storied African-American neighborhood once came to life. Here is Mill Creek Valley.

When the city started demolishing Mill Creek Valley in 1959, there were 19,700 residents here. On the 79 blocks of the neighborhood were over 5,700 housing units and 839 businesses. Ninety-five percent of the population was African-American. Residents lived in some of the city’s densest-packed blocks of brick and stone town houses, dotted by church spires and corner stores. Scott Joplin and Josephine Baker performed at venues in the neighborhood.

At the heart of Mill Creek Valley, Jefferson and Market, stood the People’s Finance Building, housing a black-owned bank that stood just blocks from the Jefferson Bank and Trust Company from which civil rights demonstrations would echo across the nation in 1963. By the time the white-owned bank integrated its workforce under pressure, the African-American bank was gone. Pruitt-Igoe’s towers further north also were baptized in conflict, in contrast to the stable and traditional neighborhood from which it drew many displaced residents.

Yet Mill Creek Valley had its real problems. The housing was substandard, and reports showed that 80% of dwellings lacked private baths and toilets. Only one-third had running water indoors. The crime rate soared some four times the city’s average. When downtown business interests pushed to blight and clear the area in 1954, Alderman Archie Blaine, representing the residents, supported all of the official efforts.

In 1958, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat called Mill Creek Valley “a growing menace, injurious and inimical to public health and safety and to the morals and welfare of residents of Missouri.” Yet clearance and reconstruction was not utopian. Blaine supported the project thinking that his constituents would get a shining new neighborhood. Most never returned. The new Mill Creek Valley was largely devoted to a new interstate and low-density office and warehouse uses. Great vernacular architecture fell into what today is the city’s most placeless, strange landscape.

No sign or plaque tells anyone that she is occupying Mill Creek Valley. No monument reminds visitors of the thousands of lives that converged here, or reflects upon how the architectural solution here wreaked social havoc through dispersal of the city’s African-American population. Sadly, St. Louis has buried a traumatic episode under a banal cityscape. In Mill Creek Valley, we perpetuate a collective forgetting of sorts that robs future generations of the chance to achieve the splendid enlightenment that comes from confronting discomforting historic truths.


Images are courtesy of the Preservation Research Office.

Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014
Marilu Knode
Sep 24 2013


Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 has been organized to examine the role sculpture, past and present, has played in defining our complex urban space. The diverse group of colleagues I have brought together for Sculpture City intend to use St. Louis—nicknamed “Sculpture City”—as a platform to critique past sculptural practice while thinking about how artists are questioning the relevance of these practices in today’s society. Because of the rich artistic fabric in our city, we think St. Louis is the perfect laboratory for the types of discussions partners in Sculpture City will be holding in the coming year.

Laumeier’s contribution to the research activities of Sculpture City will be the exhibition Mound City, opening during the conference “Monument / Anti-Monument”. “Mound City”, another of St. Louis’s nicknames, refers to the mounds left by the Mississippian culture that created Cahokia, North America’s second largest city 1,000 years ago. This show will explore traces of native cultures in contemporary society, and will include new commissions by Sam Durant, Marie Watt and Geoffrey Krawczyk and a performance by A Tribe Called Red, among other projects. We hope Mound City, one of our projects organized under the rubric “archaeology of place”, will highlight how St. Louis holds many of the myths America holds about itself in its sculptural monuments. Only in St. Louis do we have the remnants of a great ancient civilization so close by the modern symbol of manifest destiny.

Across the many platforms of this initiative, we hope to continue pushing the boundaries of understanding our place in history through public sculptural practice.


Image Credits

1. Smithsonian Institution; Bureau Of American Ethnology Bulletin 30, Handbook Of American Indians North Of Mexico, In Two Parts, Part 1; Edited By Frederick Webb Hodge; Washington, Government Printing Office.
2. Photo by Bev Sykes. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


April 10 -12, 2014


2014 Conference

As a component of the Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 initiative, Monument / Anti-Monument was an international conference created to bring together artists, art historians, curators, academics, architects, urban planners, designers, archaeologists and other experts to explore contemporary thinking about the intersection of sculpture and the public realm. 

For three days in April, our thought-provoking sessions investigated both traditional and contemporary forms of public sculpture, along with how art reveals cultural identity and the impact of urban planning on monumentation and the politics of public space. In addition to the sessions, conference attendees had the opportunity to explore several institutions including the Saint Louis Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, and the Contemporary Art Museum, along with different excursions around the St. Louis region such as Forest Park, Bellefontaine Cemetery, Northside Workshop, Pruitt-Igoe, the Gateway Arch and Cahokia Mounds. 

The conference concluded with an engaging presentation by internationally renowned artist, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who elaborated on how his interactive installations are the intersection of architecture and performance art.


All of our sessions are now available to view online. Click on the session title below to watch the panel discussion.

The Ruins of Mound City

Marilu Knode, Executive Director, Laumeier Sculpture Park

Sam Durant, Artist

Juan William Chávez, Artist

Countermonuments: Transformation in Commemoration

Lenore Metrick-Chen, Associate Professor of Art and Design, Drake University

Miriam Paeslack, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Arts Management Program at University at Buffalo, SUNY

Anna Schrade, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at Hampshire College

Christian Hammes, Senior Lecturer, Freie Universität Berlin


The Arch, the City, the River: Questions of Monumentality

Peter MacKeith, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University

Tracy Campbell, Professor of History & Co-director, Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, University of Kentucky

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Associate Professor, Yale School of Architecture

Elliot West, Professor, Department of History, University of Arkansas


Networked Monumental: ImmemorialCloudObject, but IRL

Dylan Gauthier, Digital Policy and Programming Fellow, Hunter College

Morehshin Allahyari, Artist

Tim Portlock, Artist

Sara Reisman, Director, New York City’s Percent for Art Program

Angela Washko, Artist


Artists Reclaim the Commons

Glenn Harper, Editor, Sculpture Magazine, International Sculpture Center

Delaney Martin, Artist, Curator and Director of New Orleans Airlift

Patricia Phillips, Dean, Graduate Studies and Research, Rhode Island School of Design

Dawn Weleski, Artist and Co-director of Conflict Kitchen


Redefining Memorials: The Conflation of Heroes and Victims

Harriet Senie, Director, Museum Studies Program and Professor of Art History, The City College, New York

John Craig Freeman, Professor of New Media, Emerson College

Charlotte Cohen, Fine Arts Officer with the US General Services Administration

Sally Webster, Professor Emerita, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York


When Communities Reject Monuments and Public Art

Bradley Bailey, Associate Professor of Art History, St. Louis University

Tamsin Dillon, Director, Art on the Underground

John Hatfield, Executive Director, Socrates Sculpture Park

Erika Doss, Professor, Department of American Studies, University of Notre Dame


Panel/Anti-Panel: An Open Space Forum

Jack Becker, Executive Director, Forecast Public Art + Public Art Review

Interview with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Conducted by Jessica Baran prior to the conference and his keynote presentation, Antimonuments and Subsculptures. 



Fif-TEA: 14th Biennial Teapot Exhibition
Exhibit Opening – 6:00-8:00 pm
Craft Alliance in the Delmar Loop

This 14th biennial invitational exhibition will feature
50 artists who create innovative teapots made of clay, metal, glass and fiber. The teapot shape has been investigated by artists for centuries, challenging both the functional and non-functional concept of the form. The teapot exhibition will also be installed in the Charak Gallery.

Exhibition continues through March 23.

Fif-TEA Artists Talk
Artist Talk - 2:30pm
Craft Alliance in the Delmar Loop

A lively conversation with the artists from the Fif-TEA exhibition on the iconic role of the teapot form. Part of the Meet the Makers series. Participating artists include Daniel Barnett, Jim Ibur, Susan Taylor Glasgow, Jeri Au, and Kate Anderson.
Joan Hall Gulf Projects
J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts at Lindenwood University

Our relationship to the sea is the foundation of Joan Hall’s creative works. Plastic is becoming a global problem, polluting our greatest resource-WATER. An experienced sailor, Hall has experienced the vastness and the beauty of the ocean beyond the site of land.

In June 2011, Hall and her studio assistant Danielle Spradley drove an RV to the Gulf of Mexico to document pollution on the coast of Louisiana. This “mobile Studio” allowed her to integrate “field work” into her studio practice. Plastic containers, rope, gloves and other plastic detritus washed up on shore, some as far away as Haiti. This detritus was combined with handmade paper to document, map and freeze the plastic as relics of a specific time. Oily residue coagulated on the shores of Grand Isle creating a black sand that she collected and combined with her paper slurry to make sheets.  Two newer installations in the exhibition continue her exploration of the Gulf of Mexico, most recently from a trip to Captiva, FL.

The Gulf Project was funded in part by a research grant from Washington University in St Louis, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.

Exhibition continues through February 16.

PXSTL Lecture: Freecell
Artist Talk - 6:00pm reception, 6:30 lecture
Steinberg Auditorium at WashU

Lauren Crahan and John Hartmann of Freecell, winners of the inaugural PXSTL competition, will deliver a lecture about their proposed plans to transform a vacant lot in St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood.
Emily Francisco Artist Talk
Artist Talk – 12:00-1:00 pm
Webster University - Sverdrup 123

Artist Emily Francisco will discuss her work and new exhibition at the Cecille R. Hunt Gallery. Responding to fragments of information gathered by both chance and deliberate circumstances, Emily’s work utilizes a combination of sculpture, time-based media, and process documentation.

Emily Francisco: Learning to Play
Exhibit Opening – 6:00-8:00 pm
Cecille R. Hunt Gallery at Webster University

“I activate FM frequencies with a violin and an antique piano keyboard tuned to trigger systems of stations. These recontextualized objects function as access points to voices and songs competing to be heard. I am not interested in simply exploring noise. I am interested in creating magical moments. Sound invades the body, and everyday we encounter constant clusters of noises and industrial static. I am trying to understand the physical properties of sound. I am interested in disruptions—how they distort the way in which information is received and processed, while also highlighting events.” -Emily Francisco

Exhibition continues through February 28.


Continuing: Emily Francisco: Learning to Play, through February 28 at the Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, Webster University
Fail-Safe: Discomforts Close to Home
Exhibit Opening – 6:00-9:00 pm
Craft Alliance in Grand Center

features a range of art forms that are made with seemingly ‘safe’ and comforting materials from everyday life but loaded with incendiary content. Each piece comments on an aspect of discontent, anxiety, and longing in the 21st century from poverty and racism to digital disconnect and the fleeting nature of life itself. Potent in premise, much of the more subtle and formally arresting work offers new points of access for viewers to reconsider the state of our country today as we look toward the future. Marci Rae McDade, Curator

Exhibition continues through April 20.
Marci Rae McDade Curator Talk
Curator Talk - 12:30pm
Craft Alliance in Grand Center

Join Fail-Safe exhibition curator Marci Rae McDade for an in-depth conversation about the use of traditionally “safe and comforting” fiber materials and techniques to convey potent messages of societal discontent. Examples of works included in the show will be discussed along with important aspects of this tenaciously tactile genre of contemporary art. Part of the Material and Meaning series. Brown Bag Lunch.
Bunny and Charles Burson Visiting Lecture: Alfredo Jaar
Artist Talk - 6:00pm reception, 6:30 lecture
Reception at the Kemper Art Museum, Lecture at the Steinberg Auditorium, Washington University

Born in Santiago, Chile, Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. His work has been shown extensively in exhibitions internationally, and he represented Chile at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Jaar has realized more than 60 public interventions around the world. He recently completed two important permanent public commissions: The Geometry of Conscience, a memorial located next to the newly opened Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago; and Park of the Laments, a memorial park within a park sited next to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Jaar is delivering the inaugural Bunny and Charles Burson Visiting Lecture as part of the Sam Fox School Public Lecture Series. His video installation, May 1, 2011 (2011) is among those featured in the exhibition In the Aftermath of Trauma: Contemporary Video Installations, on view January 31 through April 20 at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

Joan Hall Artist Talk
Artist Talk - 7:00pm
J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts at Lindenwood University

Artist Joan Hall will discuss her work and Gulf Projects exhibition at the J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts at Lindenwood University.
Art of Its Own Making
Exhibit Opening - 6:00pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Celebrate the opening of Art of Its Own Making which features sculpture, installation, film, video and performance and sound works from the last fifty years by a diverse group of artists, who examine how generative elements outside their control impact the works of art they create.

Exhibition continues through August 20.

Art of Its Own Making: Artist Conversation
Artist Talk - 1:00pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Learn more about Art of Its Own Making through a conversation in the galleries with exhibiting artists Edith Dekyndt and Meg Webster.
Art & Analysis: Creativity and Sculpture
Lecture - 7:00 pm
St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute - Classroom A

Creativity and Sculpture with presenters Kate Feder,PsyD; Britt-Marie Schiller,PhD; and Artist Jill Downen, MFA.

Jill Downen is a nationally recognized visual artist whose work combines art and architecture — sculptural forms made from ordinary construction materials depict bulges, wrinkles, folds, and biomorphic elements that intertwine with walls, floors, and ceilings.  Her art creates a dialogue between the human body and architecture, where the exchanging forces and tensions of construction, deterioration, and restoration emerge. Kate Feder will illustrate the creative process as one that harkens back to the rhythmic & relational environment of the mother-infant dyad, revealing that all creation is the recreation of one’s loved and lost objects. Britt-Marie Schiller will develop the creativity of the American artist Louise Bourgeois, as manifest in three of her sculptural works.

Cost: $20 per person. To register visit St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute’s website.


Continuing: Fail-Safe: Discomforts Close to Home, through April 20 at Craft Alliance in Grand Center
Step Into Spring Tour
Sculpture Tour - 12:00-1:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park is alive with early signs of spring, so put on your walking shoes and enjoy a free docent-led tour from noon to 1pm. A guided tour is a great way to combine fitness with a love of art and nature! Tour meets in front of the Museum Shop.

RSVP requested (314-615-5267).
Frame of Reference
Talk - 10:00am - 5:00pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Everyone experiences art differently. Frame of Reference brings together community members of diverse backgrounds, ages, and experiences to share their personal responses to the Pulitzer’s current exhibition, Art of Its Own Making. Framed as a day-long symposium, the presentations and performances will address the question, “How does art make itself?” – as it relates to water, air, earth, and ourselves. Art of Its Own Making explores the artistic process and the ways in which artworks evolve over time through interactions with people and their surroundings. The exhibition features sculpture, installation, film, video, and performance and sound works by a group of artists, who examine how elements outside their control impact the works of art they create.
Sightlines: Richard Serra’s Drawings for Twain
Exhibit Opening - 10:00am
Saint Louis Art Museum - Gallery 313

“Sight Lines: Richard Serra’s Drawings for Twain” will highlight a series of drawings and manipulated photographs as well as a steel model related to the large-scale sculpture, “Twain”, located on the Gateway Mall in downtown Saint Louis. In 1974, Serra was chosen by a panel of art professionals and civic leaders to create a site-specific work on an open plaza just east of the Civil Courts building. The material that will be on display acts as a record of the extensive planning for Serra’s first public
commission in the United States. “Twain”, occupies one city block and consists of seven 40-foot steel plates and one 50-foot plate that form a quadrilateral arrangement. The narrow openings between the plates act as framing devices for the city beyond, including the Gateway Arch. The drawings in this exhibition investigate the relationship between Twain’s form and its setting—simulating the physical experience of moving in and around the sculpture. Displayed around a steel model, the drawings offer a 360-degree view of the site. The exhibition is curated by Ann-Maree Walker, research assistant in the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.

Exhibition continues through September 7.

Yamini Nayar & Jerry Monteith
Opening Reception - 6:00-8:00pm
Duet Gallery

Yamini Nayar and Jerry Monteith explore the vertigo inducing ecstasy of dramatic scale shifts. The monumental and the microscopic collide in both 2D and 3D forms and it becomes difficult to tell where where surface and volume begin and end.

Exhibition continues through May 31.


Continuing: Fail-Safe: Discomforts Close to Home, through April 20 at Craft Alliance in Grand Center
New Music Circle presents: International Contemporary Ensemble with Claire Chase
Concert - 7:30pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Performing works selected in response to Art of Its Own Making, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Claire Chase come together for a unique concert inside the Pulitzer galleries. Dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced, ICE has premiered over 500 compositions in venues ranging from alternative spaces to concert halls around the world. Claire Chase, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, is a soloist, collaborative artist, and arts entrepreneur and has presented more than 100 new works for flute, many of which have been tailor-made for her. Tickets are available for $20-$10 sliding scale at, or cash or check at the door.
St. Louis Symphony Concert
Concert - 7:30pm (doors open at 7:00pm)
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

The Pulitzer and the St. Louis Symphony partner to bring chamber music concerts into the Pulitzer galleries and present works related to the exhibition. This collaborative concert series explores the unique possibilities Tadao Ando’s space provides: an intimate and contemporary setting to experience music, art, and architecture.

The April 9th performance features Nico Muhly’s Drones and Violin (2011) and Feldman’s Three Voices (1982). Tickets are available through the Powell Hall Box Office at (314) 534-1700 or online at

Admission is $20 for the general public and $10 for students.
Mound City
Exhibit Opening – 6:00-9:00 pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

The title Mound City is St. Louis’ appellation in honor of the Mound culture that existed here a thousand years ago. Through Mound City, and other educational and curatorial initiatives, we intend to explore the interrelationship between art, history and nature in our 105 acres and historic gallery spaces. Artists in the exhibition will explore traces of native culture in our contemporary world ranging in topics of disappearance and destruction, resurrection and monument.

Exhibition continues through August 26.

Coffee and Conversations: Mound City
Sculpture Tour - 11:00 - 1:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Mound City outdoor walking tour with Curator Dana Turkovic,  In Residence: Archeologists Joe Harl and Robin Machiran and artist, Geoffrey Krawczyk.

Meet at Mississippian House (near the Education Center at the front of the Park)


Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty
Film Screening – 7:30 p.m
Webster University - Winifred Moore Auditorium

The feature length documentary Bending Sticks celebrates the twenty-five year career of internationally renowned environmental artist Patrick Dougherty, who has created hundreds of monumental, site-specific sculptures out of nothing more than saplings. The film follows the artist and his collaborators during a year of stick work and reveals Dougherty’s process, personal story and inspirations.


Continuing: Mound City, through August 26 at Laumeier Sculpture Park
Alison Saar Lecture
Artist Lecture - 6:00pm reception, 6:30 lecture
Steinberg Auditorium at Washington University

Born in Los Angeles in 1958, Alison Saar is a sculptor and assemblage artist whose work explores religious and historical themes, focusing on African-American and African cultures. Interested in folk art traditions, she is known for her figurative sculptures, often carved of wood and incorporating found materials. Saar will lecture on her current work and reflect on her sculpture Leelinau, 1997 in the permanent collection at Laumeier Sculpture Park and the significance of its inclusion in Laumeier’s exhibition Mound City.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Architecture and Space Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Explore relationships between artwork and architecture, including the concept and use of positive and negative space and the body’s relationship to “build” and “natural” space.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Webster Groves Sculpture Garden Opening
Opening Reception -6:30 - 7:30pm
Webster Groves - intersection of Kirkham and Gore

A grand opening reception of the Webster Groves Sculpture Garden will highlight two Ernest Trova pieces on loan from Laumeier Sculpture Park, an original mosaic piece from local artist Catherine Magel, a stainless steel tower by sculptor Evan Lewis and ceramic eggs from artist Carol Fleming.
PXSTL: Lots Opening Reception
Exhibit Opening - 7:00-9:00pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Celebrate the opening of Lots, a temporary structure designed by Freecell Architecture as part of the PXSTL design-build competition. Collaboratively organized by the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University, PXSTL challenged designers to transform a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer building into a destination for activity. The opening celebration will include a dance performance by students from Grand Center Arts Academy’s top dance ensemble, representing a unique collaboration between GCAA’s Makerspace lab and the dance department. A conversation with grant recipients for community programs will also be held at the PXSTL site.

Lots will be open to the public until October 5th.
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

Known primarily for hyper-real, monochromatic sculpture, celebrated German artist Katharina Fritsch employs deadpan humor and radical shifts in scale to communicate the strangeness of memory and the emotional resonance of cultural objects. This focused selection of five large-scale “postcard sculptures” by Fritsch features works made by enlarging and silkscreening images originally found on travel postcards onto sheets of shaped plastic. Imagery that was once whimsical and benign becomes surreal and disquieting.

Exhibition continues through August 9.
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

Great Rivers Biennial 2014 artist Carlie Trosclair is inspired by the natural breakdown of architectural structures and, thus, her site-specific installations use pliable and decorative materials such as fabric and wallpaper to reveal patterns of beauty. Her exhibition, Exfoliation, stimulates this type of intervention, creating new relationships between surface, interior, and structural support.

Exhibition continues through August 9.
Suddenly Last Summer
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

Great Rivers Biennial 2014 artist Brandon Anschultz’s work emphasizes the tactile qualities of paint, demonstrating the ability of the medium to go beyond two-dimensional use. In his exhibition, Suddenly Last Summer, layered paintings, sculptures, and objects evoke the set design and emotional tenor of the Tennessee Williams play of the same name.

Exhibition continues through August 9.
Wooden Grace
Atrium Gallery

On display will be a series of new work by artist John Schwartzkopf. Schwartzkopf’s wooden sculptures are lyrical constructions that belie the media.  While some are minimal, sleek, and exhibit a tempting tactile aura, others are complex geometric constructions often seeming to defy gravity. The recipient of numerous awards for his sculptures, he is also recognized for his furniture design.

Exhibition  continues through July 12.
Re-dedication of Naked Truth Statue at Reservoir Park
Re-Dedication 1:00pm
The Water Tower and Reservoir Park

“The Naked Truth,” the monument honoring three German-American Journalists: Emil Preetorius, Carl Schurz and Carl Daenzer has been restored and will be rededicated on Saturday, May 17th at 1:00 pm at The Water Tower and Reservoir Park.  Robert Duffy of St. Louis Public Radio will serve as Master of Ceremonies and Preservationist Esley Hamilton will deliver the keynote address.  The Water Tower will be open for viewing from noon to 4:00 pm for a $5 donation.  Please rsvp to
Ecology: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Discover how art can be combined with a love of nature and sustainability, including how and why artists choose natural materials and the problems associated with their use, as well as the interdependence between humans and nature.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Jessie Hlebo: Puntive Embers
Opening Reception - 7:00-10:00pm
The Luminary

Jesse Hlebo’s solo exhibition, Punitive Embers, is a meditation on authority and protest and how we engage in an expanded surveillance state.

Jesse Hlebo is a New York City-based artist. He has exhibited, performed, and curated numerous solo and group shows internationally. Venues and spaces include the MoMA Library, MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Clocktower Gallery, Museum of Arts and Design, Printed Matter, Inc, and Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC, Family in Los Angeles, the Khyber Center for Contemporary Art and NSCAD in Halifax, Nova Scotia, among others.

Exhibition continues through June 20.
Art of Its Own Making: Curatorial Tour
Tour - 1:30pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Art of Its Own Making is a multimedia exhibition that explores artistic process, materiality, and environment. Join Tamara H. Schenkenberg, Assistant Curator, as she discusses works by artists such as Tony Conrad, Agnes Denes, Robert Morris, and Nam June Paik, among others.
Joe Harl & Robin Machiran: Archaeologists in Residence
Lecture - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier’s 2014 In Residence experts archaeologists Joe Harl and Robin Machiran of the Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis will give a lecture in connection with the Mound City exhibition on their research of the numerous theories regarding the origin of the Missisippian peoples. For Laumeier, Harl and Machiran will literally explore the land at Laumeier and investigate the Park through their professional practice by way of a lecture, artifact identification day and a community artwork based on historical research on native tribes in our area.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).


Continuing: Mound City, through August 26 at Laumeier Sculpture Park
Geometric Abstraction Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Explore artwork through the pictorial language of geometric abstraction. Notice artists’ use of geometry in sculpture and the contrast with geometric abstraction in the landscape. Compare the work of Minimalist artists influenced by geometric abstraction theories.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Earthworks and Site Works Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Investigate the similarities and differences in ephemeral and site-specific works. Tour includes discussion of art created in nature or using natural materials and of the artists’ desire to redefine nature’s forms.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Artist Talk: Jon Rafman
Artist Talk - 7:00pm
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

Exhibiting artist Jon Rafman discusses his work in The end of the end of the end which features a selection of recent sculpture, photography and video works. Rafman explores the relationship between the real and the virtual in contemporary life, urging viewers to reconsider the boundaries between the two. His 3-D printed sculptural busts can be understood as physical manifestations of digital desire, and while some of Rafman’s videos explore disturbing yet captivating erotic desires found in online subcultures, others celebrate the Internet’s utopian possibility for self-reinvention.
Speculative Spaces::Working Theses
Opening Reception - 7:00-10:00pm
The Luminary

Speculative Spaces::Working Theses is a wide-ranging group exhibition featuring artists, architects and collectives that each approach how prompts, speculations, restrictions, rules and hypotheses reconstruct our understanding of space and how one interacts with it.

Exhibition continues through August 8.
The end of the end of the end
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

The first American solo museum exhibition of emerging Canadian artist Jon Rafman, The end of the end of the end features a selection of recent sculpture, photography and video works. Rafman explores the relationship between the real and the virtual in contemporary life, urging viewers to reconsider the boundaries between the two. His 3-D printed sculptural busts can be understood as physical manifestations of digital desire, and while some of Rafman’s videos explore disturbing yet captivating erotic desires found in online subcultures, others celebrate the Internet’s utopian possibility for self-reinvention.

Exhibition continues through August 9.
Music Sideways / Canon for three voices
top of every hour from 11:00am-4:00pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Athanasios Argianas, exhibiting artist in Art of Its Own Making, presents the U.S. premier of Music Sideways (Canon for three voices), a vocal canon based on a single melodic line sung by three singers, from the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, begin singing from one of three different points in time to form a virtual revolving triangle. The singers will move through the Pulitzer galleries throughout the day repeating the performance at different locations every hour at the top of the hour.


Continuing: Mound City, through August 26 at Laumeier Sculpture Park
Sound Waves: Musical Reactions
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Throughout the month of July, gallery visitors are invited to experience Art of Its Own Making through curated playlists by KDHX DJs Kate Estwing, Carlos Jove, and Chris Bay. Visit the front desk for iPod and headphones. Sound Waves is an ongoing collaboration between the Pulitzer and independent radio station 88.1 KDHX.

Available on Wednesdays 12-5 and Saturdays 10-5 in July.
Poetry in Motion Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Encounter movement and rhythm in sculpture, including kinetic works and works inspired by poetry. Examine the use of line to convey movement, rhythm and implied motion, as you look at artwork inspired by literature and music.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
PXSTL: Reflections with Paul
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

A design-build competition organized by the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, PXSTL has transformed a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer building into a destination in the heart of Grand Center with the temporary pavilion “Lots”, designed by Freecell Architecture. The Pulitzer has awarded thirteen community program grants to local individuals, groups, and organizations to fund programs that respond to “Lots” and activate the PXSTL site. Using the concept of exchange as a guiding theme, PXSTL programs will make community interactions visible, whether through the exchange of ideas, goods, or services.  “Reflections with Paul” will create an opportunity for pause and reflection in the urban setting by installing hammocks, along with photographic, and audio elements that were captured at the property of Paul Artspace. Aud! io elements by Brett Williams and Lauren Cardenas.

Program continues through July 13.
Sunflower+ Project: CAM
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

In collaboration with Don Koster and Richard Reilly of the Sunflower+ Project: StL, CAM presents
Sunflower+ Project: CAM, on view in the Museum’s courtyard. The installation comprises twenty oil drums planted with sunflowers that will grow from seedlings to mature plants. Addressing nationwide issues of urban greening neighborhood beautification, and soil condition improvement, Sunflower+ Project: CAM is presented as a point of dialogue with the exhibition Mel Chin: Rematch, opening September 5, 2014. This major retrospective explores the work of conceptual artist Mel Chin, who pioneered the use of plants as remediation technology, particularly the possibilities and limitations of metal accumulating plants, through an installation of art.

Exhibition continues through October 4.
FoodSpark: Creative SoapBox
5:00 - 7:00pm
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

A design-build competition organized by the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, PXSTL has transformed a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer building into a destination in the heart of Grand Center with the temporary pavilion Lots, designed by Freecell Architecture. The Pulitzer has awarded thirteen community program grants to local individuals, groups, and organizations to fund programs that respond to Lots and activate the PXSTL site. FoodSpark is a potluck-style gathering, which challenges the local community to generate ideas that bring St. Louis social issues to the forefront of creative expression through the exchange of ideas and food.
Women Artists Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Women artists have played a significant role in the commissioned art program at Laumeier since the 1980s. Explore the artwork of 10 women currently represented in the Collection and contemplate the age-old question, “How is a woman’s artwork different from a man’s?”

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Sculpture City – North Star: Mark di Suvero
Screening - 7:30-8:30 pm
Webster University - Winifred Moore Auditorium

North Star is an illuminating portrait of Mark di Suvero, one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century renowned for his formal orchestration of steel and found industrial material. North Star was written by art historian Barbara Rose with an original musical score by Philip Glass.

Tickets $4 to $6.
Marfa Dialogues / St. Louis Opening Night
Opening - 6:00 - 9:00pm
Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Ballroom Marfa, and the Public Concern Foundation bring Marfa Dialogues to St. Louis from July 30 to August 3, 2014 as part of a continuing examination of artistic practice, climate change science, and civic engagement. Please join us on Wednesday, July 30 to celebrate the opening of Marfa Dialogues / St. Louis, a five-day series of public programs ranging from installations, performances, and panel discussions to workshops, guided walks, and meditation sessions. The opening night celebration includes Water Co-op Bar by Radical Intention and The Luminary, the interactive installation The Moth Project by PlantBot Genetics, and performative lecture Monsanto House of the Future at 8 pm by US English.


Continuing: Mound City, through August 26 at Laumeier Sculpture Park
Architecture and Space Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Explore relationships between artwork and architecture, including the concept and use of positive and negative space and the body’s relationship to “built” and “natural” space.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
PXSTL: Bread for Work
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

A design-build competition organized by the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School of Design &
Visual Arts, PXSTL has transformed a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer building into a destination in the heart of Grand Center with the temporary pavilion Lots, designed by Freecell Architecture. The Pulitzer has awarded thirteen community program grants to local individuals, groups, and organizations to fund programs that respond to Lots and activate the PXSTL site. Using the concept of exchange as a guiding theme, PXSTL programs will make community interactions visible, whether through the exchange of ideas, goods, or services. Offering edible bread tokens to the public in return for goods or services, Bread for Work creates an exchange similar to a time bank, while providing the public with substantial nourishment for their work.

Program continues through August 17.
Ecology: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Discover how art can be combined with a love of nature and sustainability, including how and why artists choose natural materials and the problems associated with their use, as well as the interdependence between humans and nature.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
PXSTL: Transformation: Making Paper from Plants, Making Art Through Interaction
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

A design-build competition organized by the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, PXSTL has transformed a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer building into a destination in the heart of Grand Center with the temporary pavilion Lots, designed by Freecell Architecture. The Pulitzer has awarded thirteen community program grants of up to $1,500 to local individuals, groups, and organizations to fund programs that respond to Lots and activate the PXSTL site. Using the concept of exchange as a guiding theme, PXSTL programs will make community interactions visible, whether through the exchange of ideas, goods, or services. Transformation will offer a tutorial of the paper making process, a paper pulp painting activity, and an installation of plants found in the St. Louis City landscape that examines the urban nature of vacant lot!


Monument to the Dream
End of Summer Film Screening - 6:00 - 8:00pm
PXSTL:LOTS / Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 presents a special screening of Charles Guggenheim’s landmark documentary Monument to the Dream. The film follows the creation of the Gateway Arch from early concepts to the triumphant placement of its final section on October 28, 1965. Join us for this end of summer celebration honoring St. Louis’ most iconic public sculpture. PXSTL: LOTS is a temporary outdoor pavilion located directly across the street from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. The
film will be shown every half hour, beginning at 6:00 p.m. with the final screening at 7:30 p.m.
Celebratory refreshments will be served.

Organized in partnership with the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation and the National Park Service who will be available to discuss the Arch renovations.
Mark Flood: Another Painting
Opening Reception - 6:00 - 9:00pm
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

The first solo museum exhibition of Houston-based artist Mark Flood, Another Painting features key examples of the artist’s recent text-based, lace, and corporate logo paintings. With a deadpan and confrontational tone, Flood’s work interrogates the verbal, visual, and written language of institutions—such as the government, Wall Street, and the art market—that influence everyday life. Appropriating the vernacular of these establishments, Flood seeks to reveal what he believes to be their inherent absurdity and desire to control.

Exhibition continues through January 3.
Mel Chin: Rematch
Opening Reception - 6:00 - 9:00pm
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

The most expansive presentation of conceptual artist Mel Chin’s work to date, Rematch features approximately fifty works from the past forty years—including sculpture, video, drawing, painting, and rarely seen documentation of the artist’s public land art and performance works. The exhibition provides an overview of Chin’s complex and diverse body of work, stressing the collaborative nature of many of his endeavors and exploring his engagement with social justice and community partnerships.

Exhibition continues through December 20.
Geometric Abstraction Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Explore artwork through the pictorial language of geometric abstraction. Notice artists’ use of geometry in sculpture and the contrast with geometric abstraction in the landscape. Compare the work of Minimalist artists influenced by geometric abstraction theories.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Constructed Visions
Opening Reception - 6:00pm - 8:30pm
The St. Louis Artist Guild

Constructed Visions is a juried sculpture and fine craft exhibition featuring artists from across the country. Exhibited works include ceramics, fibers, glass, metal, paper, plastics/acrylics, stone, and wood. Traditional and non-traditional, functional and non-functional approaches to sculpture and fine craft will be featured. Juried by ceramics artist Erin Furimsky.

Exhibit continues through October 26.
Opening Reception - 5:30 - 7:30pm
Regional Arts Commission

Regional Arts Commission (RAC) presents a lively conversation with the artists featured in the exhibition “Machinations.” The work featured are “objects that activate physical, psychological, and interpersonal relations.” “Machinations” speaks to both the intangible and tangible nature of physical relationships embodied in, through, and with objects. The exhibition places focus on objects produced through the traditions of sculpture production, small metals fabrication, casting, welding and silversmithing.

Join us at the opening reception on Friday, September 19th from 5:30 –7:30pm.

Exhibition continues through November 1st.
Earthworks & Site Works Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Investigate the similarities and differences in ephemeral and site-specific works. Tour includes discussion of art created in nature or using natural materials and of the artists’ desire to redefine nature’s forms.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).


Olin Business School Art On Campus Celebration
Artist Talk - 5pm
Emerson Auditorium, Olin Business School

Join us for the Olin Business School’s celebration of Ainsa I, one of the inaugural commissions for WUSTL’s Art on Campus program. The event will include an artist talk by Jaume Plensa titled In the Midst of Dreams, followed by a panel discussion titled Transforming Cities through Art and Public Spaces, which will include Plensa, Ed Uhlir (executive director, Millennium Park, Inc.), and Bruce Lindsey (dean, College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design).

Located outside the south entrance of the new Bauer Hall atrium at the Olin Business School, Ainsa I is a large-scale seated human figure comprised of a filigree of stainless steel letters from nine different alphabets. Plensa’s work embodies the diversity that characterizes Olin and the University at large. It also transforms the experience of its site, offering both a new focal point and a transition between human and architectural scale, while calling attention to the essentially communal nature of the building plaza.

This event is supported in part by the Whitaker Foundation.

POW! We Find Lots
Grand Center and PXSTL:LOTS / Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Taking place throughout Grand Center and ending at the PXSTL site, this performance, described as a living poem, combines modern dance and movement, acrobatics, music, pantomime, and regional culture into an original production.
FarFetched Presents end-ter-im
7 - 11 pm
PXSTL:LOTS / Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Join Pulitzer Arts Foundation for the final 2014 PXSTL program on Saturday, Ocotober 4, from 7 -11 pm. End-ter-im is a musical event which spans multiple genres including rock, funk, soul, hip-hop, and more to reflect the city’s wide range of talent.
Housing, Highways, and Other Complicated Things
Tour: 2 - 5pm
Disclosed after registration

HOUSING, HIGHWAYS, and OTHER COMPLICATED THINGS is a guided bicycle tour examining the social, political, and economic forces that historically shaped—and continue to influence—the built environment of St. Louis City and its citizens.

Every Sunday in October, interdisciplinary artist Sarah Witt will lead bicycle tours that explore the dramatically varied landscape of St. Louis City, which has seen a staggering population decline of nearly 63% since its peak of 856,000 residents in 1950. Following a cycling itinerary that passes from North to South City, the tours visit sites holding powerful narratives that are remarkable not only in determining how the local physical and social fabric survives or suffers today, but are indicative of national trends in urban development throughout modern history.

The launching point of discussion is 20th century events: mid-century policy, local real estate trends, federal aid and urban renewal, the development of the interstate system, racial inequalities, and postwar mentalities—all of which contributed to the massive exodus of St. Louisans from the city to the county, and elsewhere. But as history isn’t static, the tour will also consider contemporary issues: the recent events in Ferguson, the Better Together initiative, CityArchRiver 2015, grassroots efforts to revitalize individual neighborhoods, Paul McKee’s plans for the Northside, and general gentrification discourse. How did and do these events unravel and perpetually reknit the urban texture of St. Louis City?

Advance registration is required: Suggested donation: $10. Meeting location disclosed after registration

Tour Dates: October 5, 12, 19, 26
Poetry in Motion Tour
Sculpture Tour - 2:00pm-3:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Encounter movement and rhythm in sculpture, including kinetic works and works inspired by poetry. Examine the use of line to convey movement, rhythm and implied motion, as you look at artwork inspired by literature and music.

RSVP requested (314.615.5278).
Machinations: Gallery Talk
Gallery Talk - 5:30-7:30pm
Regional Art Commission

Join us for a gallery talk about the Regional Arts Commission (RAC)’s exhibition “Machinations.” The work featured are “objects that activate physical, psychological, and interpersonal relations.” “Machinations” speaks to both the intangible and tangible nature of physical relationships embodied in, through, and with objects. The exhibition places focus on objects produced through the traditions of sculpture production, small metals fabrication, casting, welding and silversmithing.
Tom Huck: Bugs
Opening Reception - 6:00 - 9:00pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park presents 2014 Kranzberg Exhibition Series, Tom Huck: Bugs, October 4, 2014 – February 1, 2015, in the Children’s Sculpture Garden at Laumeier. Huck’s first public artwork is based on a series of original woodcut designs inspired by the insects inhabiting the microenvironment of the Park. Two interactive bug “springers” and a climbing apparatus illustrate how nature and art—with a sprinkle of mischief—can inspire creativity and amusement in both children and adults. Bugs is Laumeier’s first commission of a permanent artwork by a St. Louis-based artist, and the first work commissioned specifically for the Children’s Sculpture Garden.
Currents 109: Nick Cave
Saint Louis Art Museum

Nick Cave will present new works, including Soundsuits, a video work, and his shimmering circular tondos in four galleries across the Museum. In addition to the installations of Cave’s work in the East Building, one work will appear in the Museum’s gallery of African art. Cave’s oeuvre resonates with performance and mixed media arts from Africa and the African diaspora, such as for ceremonial masquerades and carnival festivities.

Exhibition continues through March 8, 2015.


Currents 109: Nick Cave – Gallery Talk
Gallery Talk: 11:00am
Saint Louis Art Museum

Join us for a gallery talk of the Nick Cave’s exhibition. The exhibition presents new works by the artist including Soundsuits, a video work, and his shimmering circular tondos in four galleries across the Museum. In addition to the installations of Cave’s work in the East Building, one work will appear in the Museum’s gallery of African art. Cave’s oeuvre resonates with performance and mixed media arts from Africa and the African diaspora, such as for ceremonial masquerades and carnival festivities.

Talks are free. Space may be limited in smaller galleries; please arrive early.

Talks: November 13, at 11:00am and November 14, at 6:00pm.
Given Form
Exhibit Opening - 6:00-8:00pm
Foundry Art Centre

Given Form is an exhibition of sculpture at the Foundry Art Centre in historical St. Charles juried by Robert Davis, Jr. This exhibition is a celebration of the processes, materials, concepts, and concerns inherent in sculpture.

Exhibition continues through December 26.
Building Pulitzer:Data Systems and Construction Tour
Tour: 6pm
Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Pulitzer Arts Foundation is currently undergoing a major renovation that will result in two new galleries on the lower level of its Tadao Ando-designed building. View the work that is happening before the walls go up with a tour focused on the building’s data systems—the audio visual, lighting, sprinkler, and other systems needed to operate a twenty-first century building. The tour will be conducted by the construction project’s lead architect, Rick Wimmer-Brown, associate at Christner Inc., and Keith Cooper, contributor to the design of the data systems and engineer at McClure Engineering. A short Q&A will be held after the tour in the Pulitzer library. The program is free but space is limited. Register with Philip Matthews at or by calling 314.754.1850 ext. 237.

Tours: November 19 & 20, 6pm


Superficiary: An anti-memorial
1:59 - 3:59pm
The Luminary

Superficiary is a surface occupation, a search for new legal codes and the enactment of a bodily
anti-memorial in a performative response to the recent events in Ferguson. The public is invited to join us as we adopt a series of power poses, read call and response texts and enact empathy games on the structure, placing our bodies in various roles of protest, power, memorial and meditation to better understand the postures we participate in daily.

In the days and weeks to follow, we will organize a series of one-on-one dialogues with politicians, activists, police officers, artists and more to discuss our public enactments of politics, of policing, and of protest with the hope of considering new codes to be enacted and inscribed.

Superficiary is organized by US English, the collaborative project of Brea and James McAnally, for Jason Lazarus’s large-scale sculpture and participatory platform The Search currently on view at The Luminary.

Sol LeWitt
Film Screening - 7:30pm
Webster University - Winifred Moore Auditorium

Despite his success and being on of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Sol LeWitt didn’t want to become an art personality, refused prices, didn’t want his picture to be taken and hardly ever gave interviews. The film Sol LeWitt, directed by Chris Teerink, is not a biography, the work itself is the point of departure. The beauty of his work raises the questions where the conceptual principles end, and where the quest for beauty begins.

Submit a Program

Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 will provide multiple platforms for organizations to promote their sculpture-focused exhibitions, events and resources. The primary focus will be this website, which will provide a single source to access information about sculpture exhibitions and activities in the region. We will also develop regular e-blast, Facebook and Twitter announcements, and a related campaign to drive people to these resources.

To have your event, exhibition or resources listed on the website and promoted through other platforms, please fill out the form. Please submit your program at least two months prior to the scheduled program. Submissions will be accepted through November 2014. Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 will not provide financial support for accepted submissions. All accepted organizations will have their web address listed on the Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 website. Accepted programs are asked to include the Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 logo on their program materials.


  • Please note that all events and programs must take place during 2014 in order to be considered for Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 (events that begin in 2013 or carry over in 2015 can be submitted).
  • Submissions will be reviewed on a bi-monthly basis by our steering committee. Applicants will be notified within a few days after the most recent review.
  • Only submissions by organizations (can include
    non-profit institutions,for profit enterprises, and government/civic art programs) conducting
    programming within 100 miles of downtown St. Louis
    will be considered. Submissions by individuals
    will not be accepted.
  • Your program must be listed on your
    organization’s website.
  • The focus of the program must relate to sculpture and sculptural practices, past, present, and future.

Organization Information

Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 is intended to draw attention to the rich presence sculpture has in the visual landscape of our region. From traditional forms of sculpture—victory and honorary statuary— to abstract modern monuments and a proliferation of temporary “new genre” public art, sculpture has long been part of how St. Louis institutions and organizations have created, and sustained, a sense of regional identity. St. Louis is proud of its nickname “Sculpture City,” and this initiative will bring new ideas to the interpretation and understanding of the works that adorn and define our community.



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Marilu Knode, Laumeier Sculpture Park
Meridith McKinley, Via Partnership

Bradley Bailey, Saint Louis University
Susan Barrett, World Chess Hall of Fame
Jack Becker, Public Art Review
Carmon Colangelo, Washington University
Erin Gautsche, International Sculpture Center
Jeff Hughes, Webster University
Johannah Hutchinson, International Sculpture Center
Elizabeth Kurila, Nine Network
Leslie Markle, Washington University
Brea McAnally, Luminary Center for the Arts
Jill McGuire, Regional Arts Commission
Kristen Malone, Kiku Obata & Company
Lisa Melandri, Contemporary Art Museum-St. Louis
Patrick Murphy, Nine Network
Julia Norton, Laumeier Sculpture Park
Kiku Obata, Kiku Obata & Company
Tricia Paik, Saint Louis Art Museum
Dana Turkovic, Laumeier Sculpture Park
Roseann Weiss, Regional Arts Commission


Bradley Bailey, Saint Louis University
Susan Barrett, World Chess Hall of Fame
Jack Becker, Public Art Review
Rachel Cain, Public Art Archive
Marilu Knode, Laumeier Sculpture Park
Kristen Malone, Kiku Obata & Company
Meridith McKinley, Via Partnership
Dana Turkovic, Laumeier Sculpture Park
Roseann Weiss, Regional Arts Commission


Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 is a collaborative program convened by Laumeier Sculpture Park with regional colleagues from within a 100-mile radius of the Gateway Arch that support and promote sculpture in public life.

Your donation to Sculpture City Saint Louis 2014 will go towards supporting a host of activities in 2014, including:

  • The development and launch of this website.
  • The promotion of sculpture-related activities from across our region during 2014.
  • A three-day conference “Monument / Anti-Monument”,
    to be held at the Chase Park Plaza, with visits to regional institutions, April 10-12, 2014 other sculpture-related activities.


Kiku Obata & Company
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Public Art Archive
Regional Arts Commission
Dwyer Brown and Nancy Reynolds
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University
Whitaker Foundation
John and Marian Wuest

Design: Kiku Obata & Company
Development: Studio 2108