North Carolina Museum of Art to Install Interactive Sculptures

Larger than life head sculptures to be installed at the North Carolina Museum of Art

artGuide art news blog presents information about NCMA's new interactive sculptures. As a top leading museum in Raleigh, North Carolina these sculptures will allow the community to stay engaged and channel their creativity while playing.

Raleigh, N.C.—This spring the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) will add two new works of art to its 164-acre Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park. Jaime Hayon’s SCULPT. C—an interactive, colorful, pig-shaped play structure featuring a slide sized for children—will be installed the week of March 13 and will be permanently located in the Museum Park’s new Discovery Garden. Jaume Plensa’s Awilda & Irma—a pair of monumental steel mesh sculptures shaped like human heads—will be installed the week of April 12 and will be located along the Park’s new Promenade walkway on long-term loan. 

“After the completion of our Park expansion project last fall, we hope to continually add new works of art to our outdoor spaces—both permanent and temporary—to engage our community, inspire creativity and new experiences, and further our mission of connecting art, nature, and people,” says Dan Gottlieb, director of planning, design, and the Museum Park at the NCMA. “These two sculptures could not look more different, but they will both fit into the Park landscape perfectly: one adding an element of playfulness and color, and the other bringing a surreal, dream-like presence.”

Adds Linda Dougherty, NCMA chief curator and curator of contemporary art: “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to display these significant works of art by two international artists in the NCMA Park. The Hayon pig will be a perfect stop for families and young children, and we look forward to seeing our visitors truly interact with the work of art and surrounding Discovery Garden. The Plensa heads—hard to miss at an impressive 13 feet tall and located near our main visitor parking lot—will welcome our visitors as they walk the Promenade either into the galleries or out into the Park.”

The new works of art will be celebrated at a free Park event for all ages hosted the evening of April 21. Hoopla: Party in the Park will feature live music, food trucks, local beer, and performers.

About the Art

Jaime Hayon, SCULPT. C, 2016, painted wood and metal, H. 117.3 x W. 288.2 x D. 94.1 in., Gift of the family of Bill and Holly Blanton

Installation date: Week of March 13 (permanent) Location: NCMA Park, Discovery Garden

SCULPT. C is one in a series of large-scale whimsical sculptures titled Tiovivo (which translates as carousel or merry-go-round) by Spanish artist Jaime Hayon. Covered with a colorful design and scaled for children, his engaging sculpture of a giant red and white, zigzag-patterned pig encourages play and interaction.

SCULPT. C comes to its new home at the NCMA from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where it has been on view for the past year. The High commissioned Jaime Hayon to create a series of four works, Tiovivo, for their outdoor plaza area in 2016. The giant, cartoon-like characters, including a pig, teddy bear, and bell, are all decorated with brightly colored stripes, polka dots, and zigzags, and designed specifically for children to climb in and out of, and play in.

Jaume Plensa, Awilda & Irma, 2014, stainless steel, H. 157.5 x W. 157.5 x D. 118 in. each, © J2017 Jaume Plensa, Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. Installation view: Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape, Cheekwood Museum and Sculpture Garden, Nashville, TN, May 22–November 1, 2015; Photo: Dean Dixon

Based in Madrid, artist/designer, Jaime Hayon works in a wide range of media, from designing sculptures and murals to furniture, lighting, and interiors of restaurants, hotels, and stores. Blurring the boundaries among art, design, and architecture, his finely crafted works enliven and activate their spaces with a playful sense of whimsy and joy.

Jaume Plensa, Awilda & Irma, 2014, stainless steel, H. 157.5 x W. 157.5 x D. 118 in. each, On loan from the collection of Stuart Miller, Miami. The installation of Awilda & Irma at the North Carolina Museum of Art is made possible by the generous support of the A. J. Fletcher Foundation.

Installation date: Week of April 12 (long-term loan)

Location: NCMA Park, Promenade near Blue Ridge parking

Awilda & Irma, two larger-than-life heads, are portraits of a mother and daughter, each depicted with their eyes closed, facing each other and caught in an unspoken dialogue. Their serene, contemplative faces radiate with emotion and intimacy. The enormous scale of the heads blurs and softens individual features, making it difficult to discern race or age or gender, resulting in universal portraits.

These sculptures, though named for the people who modeled
for the artist, are not intended to represent specific
individuals. For Plensa they represent a collective human
identity, and he wants his sculptures to speak to what we
hold in common as human beings: an essential human
existence and the universal bonds that join us and hold us
together. Instead of an exterior portrait, Plensa presents us
with an interior portrait of a person, capturing the intangible
essence or soul of a person. In his words, portraits “have the
capacity to express the soul of the person, to express the
amazing contents that we have inside, our experiences, our memories, everything.”

Jaume Plensa’s monumental steel mesh sculptures have a dreamy, ethereal quality. Seemingly fragile, transparent, and weightless, they disappear into the surrounding landscape when the light is just right.

About the Art in the Environment Fund

The two installations are made possible by the NCMA’s Art in the Environment Fund, established to support temporary, permanent, and loaned installations of public art in the NCMA Park and community.

“Through the Art in the Environment Fund, the NCMA is bringing significant public art to the region and connecting art, nature, and people,” says Marjorie Hodges, the NCMA’s director of external relations and special projects. “The exceptional Plensa and Hayon works, as well as future outdoor art installations, will provide interactive and meaningful experiences for the people of North Carolina and visitors to our state. We are grateful for the broad-based community response to this initiative.”

About the Event

HOOPLA: Party in the Park Friday, April 21, 5 pm Museum Park at the Ellipse Free

Join us to find out what the hoopla is about! Check out the new works of art in the Park, including interactive play structure SCULPT. C by Jaime Hayon and larger-than-life head sculptures Awilda & Irma by Jaume Plensa. Food trucks will be on hand, and beer, wine, and nonalcoholic drinks will be available for purchase. A local DJ spins tunes
while Cirque de Vol performers lead a "hoop jam" with hula hoops and their mini aerial rig.