Exhibit Columbus leaders chose a building where one of the city’s signature art works took shape to unveil details of 18 temporary architectural installations that will stand for three months.
About 200 people attended the organization’s preview meeting at the Upland Columbus Pump House restaurant on Monday. They were reminded that the building’s lower level was where internationally known Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely in the early 1970s created the kinetic piece that would become Chaos I before it was transported to and assembled at The Commons.
Richard McCoy, founder of the Exhibit Columbus exhibition that runs Aug. 26 to Nov. 26 and will highlight art, architecture and design, called Chaos I a “monumental masterpiece” that sprang to life.
After lengthy planning and preparation, Exhibit Columbus is close to springing to life, too, as installations are being built in Columbus and other cities.
“The community has stepped up in a huge way to make this big idea possible,” said McCoy, director of Landmark Columbus, which cares for Columbus’ art and architectural heritage.
Landmark Columbus and Exhibit Columbus are programs of the nonprofit Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.
But McCoy also announced that the Indianapolis-based Efroymson Family Fund is the presenting sponsor for the exhibition. Fund vice president Jeremy Efroymson, a seasoned arts leader, collector and philanthropist, was a guest at an Exhibit Columbus public meeting last June.
The audience for the preview session included city leaders, arts leaders, tourism staffers, business owners and architectural tour guides.
“I’m stunned,” city councilman Frank Jerome said. “It’s absolutely amazing — and way more than what I expected. And I like the fact that we can have everybody involved, from universities to kids at Foundation for Youth.”
He referred to event leaders’ planned $19,000 project to overhaul and redesign Foundation for Youth’s Funology! area for arts and design-oriented creation into what is called a Maker Space. It’s one part of Exhibit Columbus that will be permanent and will include 3D printers, new computers, laser cutters and drawing technology.
The exhibition will include a wide range of designers, from some who have designed major structures throughout the world to others based around the world, including Mexico and Brussels. Also, Pettersen & Hein of Copenhagen, Denmark, are designing four interrelated works — considered as one installation — along Washington Street, and will be for in Columbus a month to make the creations.
Its work includes benches and other seating.
“This really is an international project,” McCoy said.
One especially striking Washington Street work, other than the five Miller Prize winners, is Brooklyn artist Cody Hoyt’s effort to transform the dark-bricked surface of the southwest corner of Seventh and Washington streets into a multicolored, tinted brick design in an Alexander Girard color scheme. Interior designer Girard’s work is a linchpin of the interior of the Miller House in Columbus and the late J. Irwin Miller’s office at 301 Washington St.
McCoy pointed out that those kind of projects already have the approval of the city and property owners.
“These (installations) will hopefully allow us to see our ‘Main Street’ in a new way,” said Jonathan Nesci, coordinator of the Washington Street works.
The installations also will allow the world to see Columbus anew.
The British Monocle Magazine, a global affairs and lifestyle publication, plans an upcoming piece on the city’s architecture and the event. And The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal plan to cover the opening.
Joyce Orwin serves as the Columbus Area Visitors Center’s volunteer and tour program manager. She also will be a key person planning the center’s nearly daily Exhibit Columbus walking tours.
“This is a lot more involved and complicated that what I thought it would be,” Orwin said of the exhibition’s entirety. “It’s almost overwhelming. But it’s so exciting and it’s pretty thrilling for me just to be involved with it.”
Besides architecture, the exhibition will include events such as a family-style kickoff picnic at Mill Race Park, interpretive dance at some of the sites with Indianapolis performers from Dance Kaleidoscope, and other offerings.
“This is the new move and the next generation for Columbus,” business owner and community leader Lynne Hyatt said. “And I think it’s wonderful.
“I plan to be at all of these (installations). I don’t want to miss any of it.
“The good news is that we’ll have three months to see it all.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”By the numbers” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
3: Months that the event will last
5: Number of Miller Prize winners highlighted during the event
18: Number of exhibits, including two with multiple pieces at separate locations
10,000: Projected attendance for the three-month exhibition