Sunday, October 25, 2009

Exploring Laumeier Sculpture Park

Pump house, disused, Laumeier Sculpture Park.

I took another cart tour of the Laumeier Sculpture Park on Friday (note to self: when in doubt, bring a scarf). Bill Briggs, one of Laumeier's enormously talented staff (County), showed me this stone house built over the fresh water supply used by the residents of the area 100 years ago. As you can see, the original pool has been degraded, and the stream itself has self-diverted, despite the best efforts of some Boy Scouts.

Stream on LSP grounds.

Standing in front of the pump house made me think of Robert Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed, built on the grounds of Kent State University, Ohio, in 1970, just months before the National Guard killed students protesting the Vietnam War. As part of Smithson's investigation of entropy, he piled soil on top of the woodshed until its center beam collapsed. After the Kent State Shootings, the shed became an emblem for the collapse of social order--and of so many other things.

© Jane Crawford and Robert Fiore, Sheds, 2004, 22 min. color, sound

What struck me when looking at Laumeier's pump house was the inevitable way in which human interventions disappear--indeed, in which human marks become erased by the powerful forces of nature. As we embark on a new range of projects at Laumeier, I hope we can take into account the shifts in the ways we perceive earth works, artist interventions into--and definitions of--"public space," and the on-going, mutually affective relationship between humans and earth.


  1. Normally, disused things like that pump house get forgotten and/or demolished. I think it's great that this building still exists within the protection of the park. Almost as if it has been repurposed.....

  2. I think this type of urban ruin is really thrilling--those intrepid few who find it surely learn something quite unique about the history of the area, whether they understand it or not!

    Thanks for your note!

  3. Hello Marilu! From Spain Nice to meet you!.paco

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