St. Louis, MO
2023 Merit Award, ASLA St. Louis
The Art on Campus program is a percent-for-art program at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum of Washington University, and a growing collection of public artworks by nationally and internationally recognized artists. Arbolope Studio has been engaged by the University over a number of years to provide landscape design and siting design for the installation of public artworks for this program, culminating most recently with the installation of Chakaia Booker’s Shaved Portions in the summer of 2022. Additional artists include Ayse Erkmen, Inigo Mañglano-Ovalle, and Dan Graham.
Collaborating with the curatorial team and artists, Arbolope has carefully considered the formal qualities of each artwork, placing the campus and sculptures in dialogue with one another through their site design. Taken together, all 4 collaborations between WUSTL, the artists, and Arbolope prove the value of promoting the generative intersection of art, education, and design.
Installed as part of a 2-year temporary installation commitment by the University, Shaved Portions is emblematic of Booker’s transformation of steel and salvaged rubber tires into monumental biomorphic sculptures. Arbolope sited and oriented the artwork facing the front-entrance to the University, making the sculpture a key feature of the campus arrival experience. Taking direction from both the Museum and Booker, Arbolope designed a siting for the artwork that allows visitors to circumnavigate the work, but subtly prevents visitors from touching or climbing the structure itself. This was done by offsetting a border from the perimeter of the sculpture to arrive at a zigzag geometry. Further offsets allowed for the creation of an inviting pathway around the artwork. A central pathway was then asserted through the center of the sculpture, allowing the artwork to effectively function as a sort of “moon gate” for the University.