RHYTHM, LIGHT & ENERGY: PRODUCT Another common-law relationship artist ‘team’ has been successful this year, that of Barbara Yawit and Andrew Daoust, whose multi-part installation for Wendler Middle School, Rhythm, Light & Energy, can be seen in the photos below. Crafted of powder coated, waterjet cut aluminum panels with colored acrylic and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), these lanterns in the interior hallway are matched by a set of three larger ones mounted a slab on the west lawn of the school, visible to motorists on Lake Otis Parkway.

Yawit and Daoust have also recently completed commissions including the $24,000 Flame of Life at the Southport Fire Station #15 and another at the DEC Seafoods facility, to add to their previous ones including the twisted ladder at the Downtown Fire Station. The Wendler commission was acquisitioned by the Municipality for $150,000.

The two story open hallway is a common feature of modern public school design and it can be seen that the architects intend to grant the space some visual interest through clerestory windows, exposed structural elements, or lighting arrangements already in place. According to Wendler’s Principal Joel Roylance, who also served on the commissioning panel, Yawit and Daoust’s concept as originally approved suspended the lanterns in the space between the horizontal light bars. Engineers insisted that they be more firmly attached, regimenting the geometry and changing the Energy from kinetic to potential. The LED lumens barely compete visually with the much brighter flourescent fixtures, although the photo does show faint glowing effects.

In the entryway, the notion of suspending shards of colored acrylic like broken pottery above the lobby offended no safety concerns and the results can be seen reflecting various interior features surrounded by daylighting and flourescent. In the photo at left Here again the artwork seems to be occupying space already meant to have been made interesting by the architecture. These uneasy fits and unseemly compromises are the result of not including artists in the design stages which are properly part of any construction budget and which are the most fruitful times for felicitous commissions. This is something in the Statute that should be amended, and architects should support this change. A revealing quip from the latest prospective claims that “The 1% for Art Program and the project architects … are working together to plan and implement integrated artwork.”. The bureaucrats and the technocrats seem to see the artists as ancillary.

via ArtSceneAK #701  January 15, 2008.