TITLE: Open Eyes ARTIST: Don Gummer DATE: 2011 MATERIALS: Steel, glass DIMENSIONS: 16′ TYPE: sculpture
Open Eyes (2011) is one of two artworks featured on campus by Herron School of Art and Design alumnus, Don Gummer.
The 16-foot-tall sculpture features a series of ocular shapes encased in a frame resembling a double helix that manages to achieve balance in the midst of movement.
Commissioned by the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute for display in the their courtyard, there is an adjustable spotlights on each side of the piece that illuminate the sculpture at night.
Gummer has won awards from the American Academy in Rome, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Tiffany Foundation. His works are generally large in scale, complex, and benefit from sustained experience over time. Together with his wife, the great actor Meryl Streep, Gummer is also an activist philanthropist.
How do you encounter Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir’s provocative Horizons (2008)? Does the work invite you to stray off your narrow path or does it quicken your step? Does it turn your head or fix it to the ground? Do you identify with one figure more than another? Or do they repel you? In other words, how do we square with these strange entities?
These life size cast iron figures are designed to age and weather over time, developing a patina that connects them, more and more, to the natural world. In their transformation, they invite us to connect our own aging processes to those of the earth.
But why are these figures, as a group, named Horizons? Look closer and find insets of green glass slipped into each body (except one!), references to the vast horizons that exist outside of Thórarinsdóttir’s Icelandic studio.
“The horizontal glass lines in the figures connect them to each other,” she explains. “But the glass also opens them up to daylight. So, it’s like a window that allows us to look into the inner world, the core.”
A temporary installation, this sculpture lived at IUPUI from 2018 to 2021.
TITLE: DNA Tower ARTIST: Dale Chihuly DATE: 2003 MATERIALS: glass, steel, wood DIMENSIONS: 20′ 3″ x 4′ 8″ TYPE: sculpture
DNA Tower (2003) consists of 1,200 blue, yellow, and pink spheres attached to a central core in a spiraling design that imitates the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The tower comes in at 20 feet tall; for comparison, if you stretched out the DNA in just one human cell, it would amount to around six feet of DNA!
Internationally-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly created DNA Tower to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the IU School of Medicine, which also happened to be the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA, the self-replicating material that carriers genetic information.
A spectacular testament to the bonds between structure and suprise, unity and diversity, this jubilant tower locates hope in reproductive processes where selves produce others and similarity breeds diversity.
Chihuly’s iconic work can also be found at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, as well as Newfields.