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acquisitions and accusations from NE


Installed September 2016, this sculpture is constructed of bronze, concrete, and stone. Matthew Davey lives and works in Indianapolis and is a graduate of Herron School of Art + Design and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

City of Columbus painting, Robert Indiana - Columbus, Indiana


Robert Indiana’s C painting is indicative of his pop art pieces. It uses distinctive imagery in what he called “sculptural poems.” The bold, simple representation melds the trendy with the philosophical, and centers around one basic focal point, the C in the center. Bold rays of color radiate from the center, and the piece is anchored by a composite of the Columbus skyline. The piece includes the date the city was founded (1821) and the date Robert Indiana finished the work (1981).

According to a story written by Harry McCawley, from The Republic newspaper, Jan. 20, 2014, and excerpted here, Robert Indiana chose the state for his adoptive last name. He had good cause. Before he reached adulthood he had lived in 21 Hoosier cities and towns, and Columbus was his last Indiana home. The Columbus tie was established in 1946 when his mother moved to a house on McKinley Avenue (at the time, Robert Indiana was Robert Clark, his birth name). It was in that house that he painted his first sign – unfortunately, the sign was lost several years ago.

The McKinley Avenue house made an impression on the artist, as he made several references to it and Columbus in remarks during return visits to this city, one in 1975 when his works were exhibited in the Columbus Gallery of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which at that time was located on the second floor of the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

He told the audience at the unveiling of this piece in 1981 that one of the “C” links was obviously Columbus, but then he added several other connections. One was to his given name of Clark. Another to his mother’s name, Carmen. He also suggested the art was influenced by the driving force in the city’s economy, Cummins Engine Co. He evoked the love he felt for his mother by alluding to another “C,” the Crump Theatre, where he took his mother for a movie shortly before her death.

history-mystery - William T. Wiley


Painted on the tympanum of the City Council Chambers (second floor, center), Wiliam T. Wiley’s mural depicts the local history of Columbus. Wiley, a noted contemporary American artist, was born in Bedford, Indiana.

In 2009, the Smithsonian American Art Museum presented a retrospective of Wiley’s career. Wiley also has works in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among many others.

Memorial for Veterans, sky shot


Twenty five limestone pillars, each 40-feet high, in a five-by-five grid, comprise the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans. Engraved on the columns are the names of those who gave their lives, along with excerpts from selected correspondence.

Though large, the piece offers a meditative and intimate experience from the letters to and from the soldiers. The memorial was designed by Thompson and Rose Architects and received the Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture Design Award in 1996.

Two Arcs de 212.5 from north

17 – 2 ARCS DE 212.5

Bernar Venet’s 2 Arcs de 212.5° — also known locally as the “Red C” — is typical of Venet’s minimalist work in steel. Seemingly precariously balanced, this work, like his others, reflects the artist’s love of mathematics and his style of adapting material, form, balance, and spatial perception.

Venet has received the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris, was named “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur,” France’s highest decoration, and has exhibited around the globe.

Chaos I, Jean Tinguely

18 – CHAOS I

Chaos I is a seven-ton, kinetic sculpture by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely. The 30-foot high piece is the largest work by Tinguely in the United States. Clair Beltz, archivist at the Museum Tinguely in Basil, Switzerland said, “The artist’s philosophy was that everything has to be in motion, like life; if not, it’s not real.”

It seems fitting that the centerpiece of Columbus, Indiana, a city known for both its great architectural designs and its world-class manufacturing operations, would be a sculpture that successfully marries art and engineering. Tinguely, a colorful character sporting a bushy moustache, took up residence in Columbus’s former city powerhouse (now Upland Columbus Pump House) for nearly two years, from 1973 to 1974. The artist-in-residence became a regular at the local “watering holes” during that time.

When operating, Chaos I cycles through a series of motions to simulate a day in a life, beginning slowly at first, adding movements and then winding down again. At the peak of its chaotic movements, steel balls roll and crash through a caged track, making a ruckus.

So special is Chaos to the community, that, for the three years that the new Commons was being constructed, it was safely protected in a climate-controlled box while The Commons was razed and rebuilt all around it.

The architect of the original Commons, Cesar Pelli, first suggested that a sculpture by Tinguely would be the perfect centerpiece to this downtown facility. Pelli said“We would like a great magnet, a focal point such as the old town clock…a place for people to meet and greet one another.”

The work was commissioned by J. Irwin and Xenia Irwin Miller and Mrs. Robert Tangeman in late 1971.

See learn how you can see Chaos I in action, visit the Facebook event page.

CMAD Gallery - the Commons, photo by Tony Vasquez


CMAD curates three display cases on the mezzanine level of The Commons, overlooking Chaos I by Jean Tinguely. The cases display a diverse range of small and medium sized three-dimensional work by local and regional artists. (Photo by Tony Vasquez)

Flamenco sculpture, from west


Created by artist Ruth Aizuss Migdal in 2010 in Chicago. The abstract, painted steel sculpture was part of the Columbus Sculpture Biennial for two years, until a fundraising campaign by community members raised money to make it a part of the Columbus permanent art collection in 2016.

Friendship Way, looking east


Friendship Way (Columbus Walkway Project) is an extension of Streetscape, featuring a similar rhythmic brick paying pattern, and featuring a neon sculpture by Cork Marcheschi. The project design and landscaping was by William A. Johnson. Citizens of Miyoshi, Japan, the sister city to Columbus, purchased bricks with their names engraved on the path.

Bio from the artist’s website :
By high school it was clear that little Corky had absolutely no outstanding skills whatsoever. His eight grade teacher, Mr. Middelton, included this note on his report card “At least he’s not a criminal.” The two areas of life that held some fascination for Cork were rhythm and blues music and modern art. Remembering Mr. Middleton’s remark, it was decided that if he was interested in music and art, then that is what the family should support. With his family having no background in either of these fields, Cork was told that everything he did was great. In so doing, his confidence was developed to the point where it became his major tool…

Saitowitz restrooms, by Ricky Berkey


A series of “follies” that become micro-destinations are found throughout Mill Race Park, all designed in collaboration with Stanley Saitowitz.

These structures, highlighted with a signature red painted metal, include a dramatic arc of lights that frame the entrance to the park, an 84-foot observation tower that provides a terrific view of downtown Columbus, a boathouse, a river lookout, a fishing pier, the amphitheater stage, an arbor, restrooms, and picnic shelters.

Saitowitz’s creative playfulness is on display with restrooms that have curved roofs signifying M(en) and W(omen).

Skopos, photo by Yvette Kuhlman


Created by local artist, Rick Bauer, Skopos translates as “the watcher” in Greek, the name selected through a local contest. During the flood of 2008, the one-ton work floated away (it hadn’t been secured to its base since it was so heavy) and was found downstream weeks later. Bauer returned to Columbus to oversee the restoration and re-installation. Bauer also created “Cannon,” which is located in Donner Park.