Archive for Friday, May 22, 2009

Artist has designs on KU tree

Artist Patrick Dougherty, right, works on a stick house that he’s constructing on the KU campus near Spooner Hall. The project uses 6,000 pounds of maple and dogwood saplings.

Artist Patrick Dougherty, right, works on a stick house that he’s constructing on the KU campus near Spooner Hall. The project uses 6,000 pounds of maple and dogwood saplings.

May 22, 2009

Advertisement

Artist has designs on KU tree

An unusual sight is taking shape on the KU campus. With the help of a group of KU art students, an internationally-known sculptor is creating his latest masterpiece. Enlarge video

What do you get when you take 6,000 pounds of maple and dogwood saplings and put them in the hands of an internationally known sculptor?

The answer is taking shape at the corner of 14th Street and Jayhawk Boulevard in front of Spooner Hall on the Kansas University campus.

“We’re thinking about calling it ‘The Bedazzler.’… That seems right,” North Carolina-based artist Patrick Dougherty said.

Dougherty has traveled around the world constructing massive monuments out of sticks.

His sculptures can be found in such faraway places as the Scottish Highlands and the Jardin des Arts in Chateau-bourg, France.

With the help of a group of KU sculpture students, Dougherty began his latest creation about five days ago. They’re using an elm tree to support the sculpture, which is already winding about two stories high.

“We chose this site because it’s right on the corner,” he said. “There’s kind of a spinning going on because everyone’s using the sidewalk and people are turning the corner. So we are making a big object that’s going to kind of turn on the corner itself.”

Dougherty has been creating the unusual works of art since the early ’80s.

He likened it to making a giant bird’s nest.

“I’ve been working for about 25 years, if you can imagine that,” he said. “I’ve used sticks in every possible configuration.”

The project was commissioned by the Spencer Museum of Art, where Dougherty is working as an artist-in-residence.

He expects to wrap up work on the piece Thursday.

This morning, the group will be out collecting more saplings at a site near Clinton Lake, so they can finish the sculpture.

“It takes about a tractor-trailer load of sticks to build this thing.”

And once it’s up, it will stay up. Dougherty said his work usually lasts about two years. More of his sculptures can be found at his Web site, stickwork.net.

Comments

kansaskate 6 years, 2 months ago

I've seen his work all over the country, and I assure you it is not an eyesore. It is a wonder and a beautiful piece of art. People need to have imagination and beauty all around them, even in these "tough economic times."

Dan Alexander 6 years, 2 months ago

What a narrow minded pin head.

A University does things like support the arts, perhaps it was part of the sculpture classes final, (or an event they planned last year or with resources that can only be spent on public art). Is it ok if they continue to learn in a tough economic climate? Or can you no longer be an artist? I bet you'd say get a job! Forgetting that the profession of Artist is much more historically significant and beneficial to society than most professions combined. I for one will be checking this out for sure. Heck you know what, it may even bring fans of his work to Lawrence, and while they are here they might get a parking ticket eat a burrito and plan on coming back next year to do it all again. That is economic stimulus, is it not?

Big ups to all my peeps, Happy Memorial Weekend!

I_Bejewel 6 years, 2 months ago

Kind of looks like something you'd see after a tornado hit. I love art, and I'm trying to find the beauty in this, but I just can't. I'm going to bet it doesn't even last one year. Probably will be safe through the summer with the students away, but how long to do you think it will take the homeless to move in?

classclown 6 years, 2 months ago

Or how long before some drunk student burns it down?

bluerayborn 6 years, 2 months ago

DanAlexander! Thank you for speaking up! Lawrence, Kansas (Berkley of the Midwest) does not understand the value of the Arts. If you can't eat it, drink it or smoke it, what good is it? Stan Herd is tolerated because he uses a tractor, so he is sort of mowing. Mowing is understood in Lawrence. Long live the artists!

Dan Alexander 6 years, 2 months ago

I think Stan would have a good chuckle about that blue. Furthermore I didn't (comprehend?) realize how this was done through the Spencer Museum. Shall we close the museums, because of the recession? I can't think of one time that a sculpture display went up in this city that some folks didn't wail it was hideous, except of course Jayhawks on Parade, those were regarded with much love, even though to me, those were some of the most hideous pieces of art to be mounted on our streets. What you can't see is that his work has grace, and it uses natural elements to create that movement and peace. Check out his website; broaden your mind:

http://www.stickwork.net/news.php

Alia Ahmed 6 years, 2 months ago

I have walked by it several times and I am intrigued with it. I thought the piece should be called "tornado" not because it looks like rubble but because of the depiction of a swirling motion.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

I went by it the other day and wondered. I really liked it. But I like sculptures, nice energy, motion.

Janet Lowther 6 years, 2 months ago

What a disappointment! From the picture I was expecting those sticks to be alive and rooted, so that it would evolve and be permanent, rather than something woven of dead sticks which would rot away in only a couple years!

Bill Woodard 6 years, 2 months ago

The trees used in the construction are predominantly Silver Maple and Rough-leaf Dogwood saplings that were harvested from a densely populated, sustainable site west of Lawrence. The Spencer worked closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the harvest--the area where the trees were harvested is, as mentioned above, densely populated, and this will not negatively impact tree growth in the least.

Dougherty’s residency and commission represents yet another Spencer-driven collaborative opportunity that involves KU faculty and students, and the Lawrence community. A project of this magnitude requires a large team and diverse talents, and a wonderful crew of volunteers have made this work possible. Matthew Burke, assistant professor of sculpture, is project site coordinator. KU film student Sandra Ristovska is filming a documentary about the project. Craig Freeman, curator in the Division of Botany for the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center and associate scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey, was consulted about site selection and the harvesting of saplings. Chris Lecuyer, Clinton Wildlife Area manager for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, helped secure the harvesting site. Kevin Wilson of First Management Inc. helped bundle, tie, and load material at the harvest site, and delivered the saplings to campus. Numerous student volunteers also helped harvest and deliver the saplings to campus. From KU Facilities Operations, Mike Lang, project manager for landscape and construction, and Bill Siebenaler, engineering technician, provided key logistical support on campus. Students representing diverse disciplines are assisting in the sculpture’s construction.

Financial, physical, and intellectual support for this community-wide project came from a number of sources, including the O'Connor Company-Piller Foundation, Reed and Stacey Dillon, the Capitol Federal Foundation, the School of Architecture & Urban Design, First Management Inc., the School of Fine Arts Department of Art & Design and Department of Theatre & Film, the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, KU Facilities Operations Landscape and Engineering, the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

1029 6 years, 2 months ago

What a jerk!

This guy goes out and cuts down a bunch of young trees to make something that has no function whatsoever, just so he can get some pats on the back and some "you're an awesome artist, dude!" comments to boost his ego. What a selfish, inconsiderate, nature-disrespecting, elitist!

Bill Woodard 6 years, 2 months ago

We're going to have to agree to disagree. When you have dense groups of saplings, they'll self-select anyway--not many, and certainly not all of them are going to reach maturity. These saplings were responsibly harvested; PhD botanists were consulted, and for most reasonable people, their opinions carry more weight than an anonymous poster on an internet forum.

bluerayborn 6 years, 2 months ago

Hey Arumeryada-yada... That is why there is a feature called "edit it again" on the "post a comment" so you can edit once and we don't have to read your crap twice.

p 6 years, 2 months ago

SAPLINGS BEING MURDERED? This is just like stem cell research people, we must protect the intrinsic value of sapling life. Why do I think this? Because I'm just some stupid Kansas bumpkin that understands less about the art world than I do biology. Its fairly hard to believe that most people crying bloody murder about this have ever been affiliated with the university, aside from being a dumb townie that also doesn't understand the big Perkins bonus. Seriously, be honest, I bet you all were livid about that too. Now KU isn't the best university in the nation but its pretty damn good. And honestly, its really incredible that it exists in Kansas. Its the responsibility of a major university to promote diversity and to act as cultural beacon of sorts - they aren't obligated to build this stick house but they are obligated to do something like it. They choose the stick house. You may not understand or agree but part of being a major university is about cultivating credibility via a concert of measures.

Its become highly fashionable to complain about wasting money and advocating the cutting of costs but I think this is a great example of how a mob of bitter idiots will use that to argue whatever idea they wish to promote. Whatever this thing cost, I am willing to bet it is insignificant.

akuna 6 years, 2 months ago

I am astounded by some of the comments on this story. Lawrence is/was a special place in Kansas because the community embraces differences and support things like the arts. I guess Lawrence has been overrun by people who don't love the arts. If this continues, then Lawrence will be just like all other Kansas towns - unremarkable. That will be a truly sad day.

BTW - I love this project and nearly every art project in Lawrence. I may not agree with the subject matter, the composition, or the execution of the project, but I still love seeing people create things (other than hatred.) Creativity and being able to construct your imagination's delights is the pinnacle of humanity. Yes, engineering and practical matters are great too, but even then engineering is really about being able to construct your intellects wonders.

akuna 6 years, 2 months ago

@ArumerZwarteHoop I think it is you that needs to leave. There are hundreds of other communities in Kansas that you will fit into. Leave Lawrence so us people that support the arts can continue to keep Lawrence as the shining jewel of Kansas.

Keith 6 years, 2 months ago

It's a concern troll house and Solomon and Arumer are worried they won't be invited.

hujiko 6 years, 2 months ago

Good grief, it's a pile of sticks, don't get your panties in a bunch.

Graczyk 6 years, 2 months ago

ArumerZwarteHoop, I hated the town I used to live in - and its pitiful little university, too! Do you know what I did? I left.

I went far, far away and found a town and a university that I could love. Life is so much better now. Maybe you should go far, far away too? You might be much happier. I know we will.

(Okay, that last line was a little much, but the paragraph was just screaming for it.)

9070811 6 years, 2 months ago

It's just a guy building a house out of sticks. Which is done in many countries all over the world. Clinton Lake is full of branches and saplings. It is not that big of a deal. It is just art made from natural resources. It is a sculptural project for the Art minded to creat. Get the over it.

9070811 6 years, 2 months ago

It's just a guy building a house out of sticks. Which is done in many countries all over the world. Clinton Lake is full of branches and saplings. It is not that big of a deal. It is just art made from natural resources. It is a sculptural project for the Art minded to create. Get the over it.

christy kennedy 6 years, 2 months ago

It's a beautiful thing, the logistics of which are explained nicely by Bill, (9:51). The crank comments are just that, made by cranks. Good lord, people. Go outside, take a walk, go see the sculpture and spend a minute thinking about why you have to be so negative about someone else's creation that many people will enjoy.

9070811 6 years, 2 months ago

& as an FYI, the artist pays the students. Not the university.

Graczyk 6 years, 2 months ago

I know - I still like to torment UCF fans and supporters. But I do it much less now. :)

Interesting handle, BTW. History buff?

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, but you people are really lowering the bar for yourselves on this thread.

I've seen one of this guy's works in Wyoming. I personally quite like his stuff. But I guess that makes me elitist, right?

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 2 months ago

I like it just because I like it. Art dates from the evolution of the opposable thumb and the ability to manipulate an art tool. I love the wood statue at South Park just across the little street from the old court house. It always makes me think of the Bridge to Terabithia and when I go by I always have to walk though it. I am going to see what I can create out of twigs and such that I find. You never know. I think it sounds like fun.

Bill Woodard 6 years, 2 months ago

Thank you to everyone who is bringing reason to the discourse here. And just to clarify on the questions of funding: the project is made possible by generous private donations and in-kind support from across the community; there are no state funds involved.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for mention that, Bill, because:FYI: " For their generous support of this project, the Spencer thanks the O'Connor Company-Piller Foundation, Reed and Stacey Dillon, the Capitol Federal Foundation, the School of Architecture & Urban Design, First Management Inc., the School of Fine Arts Department of Art & Design and Department of Theatre & Film, the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, the KU Facilities Operations Landscape and Engineering, the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Dougherty will give an artist’s talk on his work at 5:30 PM May 21 in the SMA Auditorium." To learn more about Dougherty, please visit www.stickwork.net. I am going to see if I can make a modal of the HMS Surprise which was Jack Aubreys fave.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 2 months ago

Irish: Actually, art came about some 2-3 million years after the opposable thumb, around 120,000 or so years ago. But that said, art and music are both uniquely human phenomena.

LogicMan 6 years, 2 months ago

"6,000 pounds of maple and dogwood saplings"

It is very unfortunate that so many lives were ended so early, in the name of temporary modern art.

"I think I shall never see, a [sculpture] as lovely as a tree" {Joyce Kilmer, 1886–1918}

"Life begins at germination." {LogicMan, 2009}

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 2 months ago

Ludicrous anonymous internet rants lack the oral and bodily cues that would normally figure into discerning the ludicrous from the inane. This is where thinks like "lol" and :) arise. Given the amount of inanity on this site, it is just darn difficult to weed the idiots from the jesters.

christy kennedy 6 years, 2 months ago

Thank you again, Bill. Too bad most of the negative comments come from folks who not only start ranting and complaining before they know any of the details — perhaps lacking the curiosity or ability to fact find —they will also continue to rant and complain because they didn't read, can't grasp, or choose to not believe the reasonable explanations provided to them.

You'd think jumping to ill-informed conclusions would be embarrassing but they'll just keep doing it.

Danimal 6 years, 2 months ago

This can't be good for the tree it's being built around or the lawn. Why couldn't this be done down in the grove where it wouldn't be an eyesore and dangerous impediment to traffic?

Frederic Gutknecht IV 6 years, 2 months ago

If art is not important then this is not important. If this is not art, then there is nothing to worry about. What are we worried about? Are the worshipers of the golden calf saying that the calf has not laid a golden egg? I'm failing to see the horror here. I do see the beauty. Art and elitism are in the eye. Be hold the spit, peeps. Here's mud in your peepers.

riverdrifter 6 years, 2 months ago

ArumerFwarteHoop: I'd take you out & show you where they cut all this otherwise useless brush (roughleaf dogwood is the devil on this earth, tree/shrub-wise, I doubt you'd know it from a damn California redwood) but in this heat & humidity (back of hand to forehead, rolls eyes) you'd wail & fall and I'd have no inclination to drag your sorry arse out of there. It's in the flood pool of Clinton lake & that just might be a good place for you.

classclown 6 years, 2 months ago

After seeing this the only thing that comes to mind is "Little pig, little pig. Let me in."

Kontum1972 6 years, 1 month ago

so does this come under the statute for personal-property tax being levied?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.