Earlier this week, a ubiquitous Long Wharf Theatre sight, a silver steel kinetic sculpture designed by Tim Prentice, was taken down for refurbishment and relocation.
Earlier this week, a ubiquitous Long Wharf Theatre sight, a silver steel kinetic sculpture designed by Tim Prentice, was taken down for refurbishment and
The sculpture, known as a windframe, was located on the primary signpost next to the entrance to the Mainstage.
Architect Rick Wies believes that the artistic impact of the sculpture was lost in its current location. The windframe will be moved 80 feet closer to Stage II and have a special lighting system installed to illuminate it. “We believe it will now clearly read as an art installation,” Wies said. “We are experimenting with various lighting methods to optimize the impact.”
On Monday morning, work began to move the piece to its new home. Workers burned through the I-beams supporting the structure with oxyacetylene torches, the blue flame cutting through the steel quickly. A couple of sledgehammer taps to each of the legs, and the structure was free.
A boom truck, in essence a large crane, picked up the sculpture, turned it so that the artwork would face up when lying down, and gently lowered the frame to the ground. The sculpture will then be removed from its steel frame, refurbished, and then stored until its reinstallation later this summer.
It was important to Wies to retain and reinvigorate this important piece of art. “We think that the sculpture, combined with all of the new exterior lighting, will be a nice enhancement to the project,” he said.
The Albers Foundation commissioned the sculptor to create a piece for the theatre. Prentice chose one of his windframes, which can be found at locations all over the country. “The engineer in me wants to minimize friction and inertia to make the air visible. The architect studies matters of scale and proportion. The navigator and sailor want to know the strength and direction of the wind. The artist wants to understand its changing shape. Meanwhile, the child wants to play,” Prentice wrote.
Prentice is described as a kinetic sculptor whose focus is on movement, rather than objects. “I take it as an article of faith that the air around us moves in ways which are organic, whimsical, and unpredictable. I therefore assume that if I were to abdicate the design to the wind, the work would take on these same qualities,” Prentice wrote on his website.