Tuesday marks a significant moment in the history of the Barnes Foundation.
All eyes were on the sky as a soaring 40 foot abstract sculpture was installed at the Foundation’s new building in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.
The sculpture, by one of the great masters of Contemporary Art Ellsworth Kelly, is entitled the “Barnes Totem.”
Commissioned by the Neubauer family, the Barnes Totem , was designed to work with the surroundings so as to give visitors a sense of being in a special place, and at the same time presenting a dramatic artist statement.
The 88-year old artist told me when people see it, it will be like speaking to the sky.
On hand for the unveiling, Kelly says he hopes it has the “ahhh” factor, but he also said he doesn’t want people to think “What is it?” He just wants them to pause and “feel” what it looks like.
Kelly has been creating totem like sculptures since the early 70’s.
This latest work of art stands at the head of a reflecting pool on the north side of the new Barnes Foundation building.
Kelly’s career has been dominated by line, form and color, the same interests echoed in the thinking of Dr. Albert Barnes who amassed this great art collection and formed the Barnes Foundation in 1922.
The Barnes Totem is made of beaded blasted stainless steel.
The zigzagging form of the sculpture echoes the arrangement of the stone panels, each constructed of varying sized stones on the side of the building.
The New Barnes Foundation Gallery is almost complete and will open to the Public on Saturday May 19.