Andy Goldsworthy has just completed the installation of Stone Sea, a sculptural work of 25 arches constructed of roughly cut Missouri limestone, for the Saint Louis Art Museum. The sculpture is located in a new courtyard that joins the Museum's Cass Gilbert-designed Beaux Arts Main Building and the new East Building designed by renowned British architect Sir David Chipperfield set to open June 29, 2013.
In developing this major installation for the Museum, the artist drew inspiration from St. Louis geology and, particularly, the city's underlying base of limestone. Aware that limestone formed in prehistoric times when the Midwest was covered by seawater, Goldsworthy installed the arches to reconnect the stone to its origin from the sea.
"The scope and complexity of the work reflects Goldsworthy's long career as a sculptor making ephemeral and permanent work with material drawn from nature," said Museum Director Brent Benjamin. "Stone Sea looks to the past, present, and future to celebrate the expansion of the Museum."
The artist chose to fabricate the 10-foot high arches using stone from the local Earthworks Quarry in Perryville, Missouri. "Stone Sea is one of the artist's most ambitious public sculptures to date," said Simon Kelly, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum. "It represents the culmination of Goldsworthy's long-standing interest in the arch form and embodies his deep attachment to the land and its ancient history."
"My aim is not to just install twenty five individual sculptures, but to create a sea of stone," said Goldsworthy. "The challenge has been to fit as many arches as possible into the space so that individual arches are lost in one single work."
The installation is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Tricia Y. Paik, assistant curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. The Stone Sea commission has been privately funded by a consortium of St. Louis donors.
Stone Sea officially opens the public during the Museum's 2-day celebration June 29-30, 2013. For more information on the Museum expansion, visit slam.org