July 14, 2020
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A 2002 work by internationally acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley will be installed at Rosse Hall during October break.
“Pore” is a cast-iron life-sized figure that will be attached to the north side of Rosse. It is part of a series of works by Gormley that challenge a viewer’s sense of self in relationship to his or her immediate surroundings and to architectural structures.
“Pore” was donated to the Gund Gallery by Graham Gund ’63 H ’81 and his wife, Ann.
Natalie Marsh, director of the gallery, said, “We are thrilled to be able to add ‘Pore’ to the physical landscape at Kenyon College. Our beautiful campus is the perfect setting for extraordinary and conceptually stimulating works of public sculpture, and I often hear from visitors and prospective parents and students who deeply appreciate the integration of art into the fabric of our environment.”
Gormley is renowned for his public art and has received many awards in his career. In 1997 he was made an Officer of the British Empire. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
“His public works — enigmatic figures that have been installed in high meadows of the Alps, along desolate coasts, on the roof of the Royal Academy and in the crypt of Winchester Cathedral, to cite a few examples — represent the artist’s engagement with place and public,” said Kathleen Steward Howe, director of the Pomona College Museum of Art and a member of the Gund Gallery’s collection committee.
Siting Gormley’s “Pore” was a challenge because its 1,400-pound weight meant that only a few Kenyon buildings had walls strong enough to support it: Rosse, Peirce Hall, Ascension Hall and Old Kenyon. The College’s public art committee chose Rosse as the location for “Pore” because its stone is flatter, to better fit the artwork, and the plate that affixes to an interior wall to hold the art would not be disruptive.
The plate will be in a stairwell of Rosse. It holds four long brass pins that feed through the sandstone exterior and attach to the sculpture.
Lisa Schott ’80, managing director of the Philander Chase Conservancy, is one of 11 members of the public art committee.
“I love the sculpture. Sculpture is such a visceral thing, and this is the kind of sculpture that will make people stop and react to it, some positively and some not. But it’s by a world-renowned sculptor, and it’s wonderful that we get world-renowned sculpture for our campus,” she said.
Cornelia Ireland Hallinan ’76 H’91, former chair of the Kenyon College Board of Trustees, also is on the public art committee and said, “It is an impressive piece of art and a really wonderful addition to the campus landscape.”
The members of the public art committee are: Steven Arnett, director of facility operations; Claudia Esslinger P’05, professor of art; Robin Goodman, Gund Gallery collections manager and registrar; Sheryl Hemkin, associate professor of chemistry; Laura Kane, director of student engagement; Susan Morse, chief of staff to President Sean Decatur; Thomas Stamp ’73, college historian and keeper of Kenyoniana; Elizabeth Williams-Clymer, special collections librarian; Hallinan; Schott and Marsh.
Schott said, “Over time, people start to see how fortunate we are to have all this great sculpture at Kenyon. I’ve always loved the beauty of the natural area here, but I also love the artwork we have here at Kenyon. It complements the natural beauty. I love to see the sculpture as I walk across campus.”
Most public art installations are managed by the Gund Gallery staff after approval by the public art committee. Gund Associates, the museum’s interns, are in the process of researching and writing labels for publicly displayed works of art on campus.
Joy Sperling, professor of art history and visual culture at Denison University and also a member of the Gund Gallery’s collection committee, said, “The piece to be installed is one of a series of sculptures that has received some of the highest critical acclaim that the artist, now approaching his elder years, has received over the course of his extended career. The sculpture is likely to be a significant visual addition to the public sculpture program on the Kenyon College campus.”