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C3 Artistic Encounters: Giant Constructions

July 22, 2011

There are things I expect to see coming into work on a Monday, like empty galleries, art being moved, staff shuttling to and from Starbucks for morning coffee.  One thing I definitely did not expect to see this past Monday was a 12-foot sculpture of a rocket ship made of chicken wire, burlap, tape, and felt lurking in the corner of our C3 Tech Lab space.  Talk about surprising!

The Rocket Ship is a communal artwork created by visitors during our 9×9 C3 Artistic Encounters program last Saturday. What I love about the Rocket Ship, which looks like something from a Michel Gondry movie or a cousin of a Claes Oldenberg soft sculpture, is that it is a realization of visitor interpretations of a work of art.

In the Center for Creative Connections, we have a metaphor response wall where visitors can leave their thoughts about Lee Bonteou’s Untitled (35).  One of the prompts visitors respond to is: “If this work of art was part of something larger, what would it be?”  Multiple responses to this prompt have been “Rocket Ship.”  So, as part of our new 9×9 Programing initiative, C3 staff teamed up with artist Rene Muhl to make this response real on a very large scale.  Kari Laehr, Center for Creative Specialist, worked with Susan Diachisin, Director of the Center for Creative Connections, and is excited to share her rocket ship-making experience with us.  Here’s Kari:

Last weekend in the Center for Creative Connections, we launched our new 9×9 Programing, specifically our third consecutive program called Giant Constructions. The program was based on Bontecou’s Untitled (35), currently found in our gallery and, I must admit, one of my favorites in the space!

   

Lee Bontecou, Untitled (35), 1961, welded metal and canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1963.92.FA.

This work of art encourages participants to contemplate space through a mysterious dark opening that simultaneously toys with depth perception and confrontational elements. Participants were encouraged to create a large-scale sculpture that would act as an extension of the Bontecou piece.  We had a wonderful time with Rene discussing Bontecou’s work and trying to answer questions about the artist’s intent, types of materials used, and other interactive prompts.   As Amy mentioned above, the main prompt was “If the piece were a part of something larger, what would it be?”  Many responses to our interactive prompt came back with the same answer – ROCKET SHIP!  With the help of artist Rene Muhl, imagination became reality as our rocket ship took shape.

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The program lasted four hours and was a casual come-and-go process. As you can see, everyone had a great time adding to our Rocket Ship.  There are many ways to interact with art, and we look forward to continuing to promote new and exciting programs through the rest of 9×9 in July!

Kari Laehr
Center for Creative Connections, Specialist

Amy Copeland
Coordinator for Go van Gogh Outreach

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