The Kinetic Sculpture: Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

August 4, 2012 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

One of the coolest things in the city is the beautiful red ring sculpture thats sits in front of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens Stately building on Riverside Avenue. Find out about it after the Jump!

Takashi Soga (Japanese, b. 1952), Sea of the Ear Rings, 2008, metal, 13 x 13 ft., Gift in memory of Dudley D. Johnson, Jr. (1961-2004), AG.2008.3.1.

Kinetic art is defined as art which contains moving parts or depends on movement for its effect.  The moving parts can be powered by any number of energies, including wind, motor, steam, clockwork, observer interaction, and others.  The heyday of kinetic sculpture was the 1950s and 1960s, with Alexander Calder and George Rickey leading the way.  That was not however, the end of kinetic sculpture.  

More recently, an artist by the name of Takashi Soga has created a great number of kinetic sculptures, utilizing counterbalance.  His sculptures tend to be large scale, outdoor pieces that respond to air flow and gravitational pull.  Soga has expressed great interest in gravity and its influence on space.  By controlling gravity, he is able to show what he calls “unusual space”.

Takashi Soga was born in Osaka, Japan in 1952.  He currently lives and works in Utica, New York.  Soga graduated from Osaka University of Art in 1975, and has received a number of awards and honors, including the Grand Prize at the 13th International Art Exhibition in Japan in 1980, the Nagano Prize in 1998, and the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2005.

The Sea of the Ear Rings is a fire-engine red, painted stainless steel sculpture that stands 13 feet tall by 13 feet wide, and is located on the front lawn of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, facing Riverside Avenue.   An open ring sits vertically on the ground, with a second open ring of equal size balanced - edge to edge - so this top ring is parallel to the ground but suspended 13ft into the air. 

 The Sea of the Ear Rings is a kinetic sculpture, in that the upper ring of moves gently up and down in response to the wind and atmospheric conditions.  

This engaging piece of artwork came to the Museum in 2008. The sculpture was generously given by Dudley D. Johnson as a gift in memory of Dudley D. Johnson, Jr.  

Written by Amber Sesnick,
Visitor Services & Social Media Coordinator at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens