Open 24 Hours

July 3, 2014 - March 8, 2015

NOTE: Exhibit only open during regular Museum hours

Outdoor sculpture and public art have become an important way for artists to connect and engage with audiences on a large scale. Not only does public art respond to the environment for which it is designed, it is an opportunity for the artist and community to collaborate on spaces that matter to both.

Public art is becoming part of the fabric of every major city, and Chattanooga is no exception. The Hunter Museum has several outdoor sculptures in its collection, some of which are located in the garden outside our facility, and others in locations around the city of Chattanooga.  Open 24 Hours highlights these artists, along with other major American sculptors by considering some indoor works by them.  This exhibition includes prints, preparatory drawings, maquettes and watercolors by artists such as Dennis Oppenheim, Mark di Suvero and Richard Hunt. 

Many of these structures are familiar landmarks of Chattanooga.  Consider the sculpture by Dennis Oppenheim called Arriving Home that is located in Miller Plaza in downtown Chattanooga.  This piece blurs the boundaries between architecture and sculpture by incorporating a loop that ends in a house-shaped form that refers to one’s tether to home and family. The piece also encapsulates the circular rhythms of traveling. Both departure and arrival are crystallized in this colorful metallic spiral made of steel and acrylic. Oppenheim proposed this piece for Miller Plaza because of the plaza’s popularity and central location in downtown as a site visible to people as they travel home from work.

The Troupe by Bart Walter and located at the Chattanooga Zoo, depicts a group of six slightly larger than life size bronze chimpanzee figures in a traveling group. Each figure represents a member of a chimpanzee social group, including an elder matriarch, two mothers with their young and a dominant male—social structures that we can easily identify with as humans.  Bart Walter travels all over the world to observe wildlife as subjects for his sculptures. He followed chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale forest in Africa before creating these pieces. The artist initially does numerous sketches and a working model of a sculpture, before sculpting the final large version in clay. The clay piece is then cast in bronze at a foundry.

Come browse these works and many more and be sure to take one of our sculpture map brochures to explore our outdoor sculpture collection.  Consider how an object and its placement changes your perception of that space. They are, of course, open 24 hours.

Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011), Study for “Arriving Home,” Project For Chattanooga Tenn, 2006, pencil, colored pencil, oil wash, and oil pastel on paper, partial gift of the Artist, Dennis Oppenheim, 2010.13