Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

ARCHES FROM A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW; Artist Says He Was Inspired by St. Louis' Geology, Not Its Famous Landmark

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

ARCHES FROM A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW; Artist Says He Was Inspired by St. Louis' Geology, Not Its Famous Landmark

Article excerpt

Artist Andy Goldsworthy lives in rural Scotland. So believe him when he says the Gateway Arch never entered his mind when he designed the outdoor installation "Stone Sea," a series of 25 arches, for the St. Louis Art Museum.

"To be honest, it never occurred to me," said Goldsworthy while he was taking a break Thursday at the museum. "And then I came here and I see the arches everywhere on the sides of cabs and in signs. I love the Gateway Arch, but to come here and say, ' Oh yes, St. Louis has the Arch. I'll make some arches,' would have been very, very superfi cial."

Rather, Goldsworthy's arches are meant to conjure the heaving sea that once swept over Missouri hundreds of millions of years ago.

"Someone said it looks like waves," said Goldsworthy. "It has its own sense of flow and energy. There are so many arches that it is no longer 25 arches but a single work with its own sense of movement."

Goldsworthy and his team plan to finish the sculpture next week. The work costs about $1.9 million, paid for with private donations that were given specifically for installation. Located in the small, sunken courtyard, the sculpture is visible from the south entrance, the cafe and, in the spring, the reinstalled Ancient American Gallery.

Visitors may enter the sculpture in June when the museum debuts its new, $160 million expansion. Each vantage point is unique.

"It's like you're seeing a different work each time," said Goldsworthy. "From the galleries, you get this panorama, but when you enter, it feels physical and threatening."

Goldsworthy built his reputation as a major artist by creating starbursts of packed snow, webs of twigs and haystacks of tiny stones. Sometimes the warmth of the sun or a strong gust of wind would destroy his works before he could finish.

"Stone Sea," however, is anything but ephemeral. Each 10-foot arch is built from 13,000 pounds of Missouri limestone. The base pieces weigh 2,200 pounds; the keystones come in at 800 pounds. …

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