Emergence, a monumental sculpture created by artist Georgia June Goldberg specifically for the American University Museum in Washington, DC, sets a benchmark for outdoor art and architecture by expanding the interpretation of sculpture in the public realm. This huge blue and white installation encompasses the entire museum’s sunken sculpture garden and juts out of it, making that hidden space visible to the thousands of passing cars and pedestrians who circulate around Ward Circle each day and night.
The installation consists of two glacial masses that rise out of the garden and gesture toward Ward Circle like metal filings lining up toward a magnet. Goldberg herself says, “I am undertaking this project because of my belief that art plays a powerful roll in making us see the unseen. Here we have a below-grade sculpture garden, hidden from the outside world. What is below grade? Icebergs, tectonic plates. I hope to poignantly call attention to the forces, fragile beauty, and the necessity of preserving of our environment.”
Emergence, 128 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 32 feet tall, is composed of irregular, rhomboids made of delicate white wood members sheathed glittering ice-blue fabric. Viewers can circulate throughout and around the piece, which is the largest single installation ever at the American University Museum. “I’d say its a big success: drama and fragility, coherence and chaos, beauty and impermanence and it holds the space,” said District artist Inga Frick. “Magical,” was the word used by museum Director Jack Rasmussen.
Georgia June Goldberg is a multimedia artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her drawings, paintings and sculptures have been shown throughout the United States at venues such as American University Museum in Washington, DC; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito,CA; and Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA. She is a professor of art and architecture, and has been a fellow at several artists’ residencies in United States and abroad, where her site-specific installations have been situated. Georgia holds a MArch from Princeton University School of Architecture, Princeton, NJ and a BA from Yale, New Haven, CT.