This smartphone content is intended to be used with the free, self-guided tour maps available at The Visitors Center, 506 Fifth Street, Columbus, Indiana.
THOMPSON AND ROSE, 1997
MICHAEL VAN VALKENBURGH, landscaping
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.
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.
JEAN TINGUELY, 1974
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.
RUTH AIZUSS MIGDAL, 2010
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 (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…
STANLEY SAITOWITZ, 1992
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).
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.