Others of you may swing yourselves dizzy on Mark di Suvero’s giant Arikidea — a spider composed of a skyscraper.
Many of you do your best to take that perfect, illusionistic snapshot of a friend biting into Claes Oldenburg and Coosja von Bruggen’s giant, metal cherry.
Well, if any of you are like me you also make some time to frame our petite but pleasant skyline through David Nash’s Standing Frame. Nash’s sculpture with its animated legs and giant view finder is no longer a resident of the Garden. The piece was removed in November because, in its twenty-third year of existence, it reached its natural end. The timbers decomposed from the inside out making the work structurally unsound.
When this news was shared with the Walker tour guides many of them wanted to share farewells. Below are some highlights from those who knew the work well. Read their thoughts, then please share some of your own as a comment. We’d like to hear your goodbye to Standing Frame and learn about other works in the Garden that are meaningful to you.
“I have no contained stories or memorable quotes about the standing frame, though it was, in some ways, a moving piece to tour. Thinking about the observation that we look at nature through windows these days and through car windows at that, people would focus on what images of nature the work helps us see instead. How could we look at trees when the frame was so high? Was Nash only interested in our looking at clouds and sky? From what vantage point could the work frame the Basilica? As we moved around it, the more-or-less geometric frame on a tripod morphed into a headless walking creature framing nothing; we’d wonder about heads, tree-made bodies and how we find the images we see.” –Christine McVay
“I have loved Nash’s ecological sensibility, which I like to share with tour participants of all ages. Kids have always enjoyed going into the trees, standing on the block of concrete, and seeing the framed view of Mpls. I’ve also liked the fun of comparison/contrast with Woodrow—kids think Woodrow is made of wood, then we talk about why it needs to be of more durable material. Then when we get to Standing Frame, although it looks like wood, they think it probably isn’t! So that is always a fun twist. Now I guess I will just show a photo of Standing Frame to exemplify why Woodrow is made of bronze. That won’t be nearly as much fun, though.
I also thought it made an interesting pair with Turrell’s Sky Pesher. Both framed sky, but the standing frame included the tops of trees and buildings and you could see things around the frame whereas Sky Pesher isolates the sky. It made for an interesting compare and contrast.” –Nancy Beach
“Standing Frame has been one of my favorite pieces. We all know it frames the Basilica, but children also think it looks like a TV set or a camera (it has knobs and also legs). I love to have the children imagine the sculptures coming alive at night and our frame taking pictures. It is fascinating to think of the Di Suvero’s Arikidea walking about and Woodrow galloping through the Garden with the frame capturing all the action. Just think of the ways the sculptures would move about. I will miss the piece.” –Carol Bossman
“I love the arguments as to which is the best spot to stand on to look through the frame. As with all art, it’s all in your personal perspective.” –Jenny Skinner
“Nash’s Standing Frame is always on my tour of the garden, and I grieve its departure.
His premise that nature frames our viewpoint is so welcome. Indeed it is all we have, in spite of our contrivances.
I loved watching everyone look at it from both sides, with the taller people insisting they could see the Cathedral. It created lots of jumping…sometimes from greyhairs like me.
My friend Odell, noticed that the tree trunks were upside down.
And I liked it because it came from Taylor’s Falls, where I had learned to climb sheer faces.
And it cast a shadow on our broader view of the world.
Love to the decay of the Standing Frame. It has made an important impact.
Let it rest.”
“ … A great piece to tour and so well received given its local materials, brilliant design and concept. Its fragility is part of its beauty. –Sandy Boss Febbo
What’s your ode to Standing Frame?