"Art-in-Architecture" Program on View in Sacramento | ArtJabber

“Art-in-Architecture” Program on View in Sacramento

"Texts in Stone," Jenny Holzer, US Federal Courthouse, Sacramento
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Yesterday, my Modern Architecture class went on a field trip to the United States Courthouse (federal) in Sacramento, CA.  In addition to taking in the spectacular architecture I was surprised to discover thirteen original works of art on display.  The pieces are all part of the “Art-in-Architecture” program run by the General Services Administration (GSA).  

Established  in 1963 by President Kennedy’s Ad Hoc Committee on Federal Office Space, the program has commissioned over 200 works of art for federal buildings.  Who knew?  According to their brochure, “Each GSA public art commission is inexorably tied to a specific community, and facilitates a meaningful cultural dialogue between the American people and their government.”  Wow, this is the best kept secret, ever!

Most striking and poignant to me was the installation of conceptual artist Jenny Holzer’s “Text in Stone” which is on view in the outdoor plaza in front of the main entrance to the courthouse.  Carved into 99 different stone pavers are a selection of writings about law, truth, and justice.  The stones are laid out in a grid-like pattern, but oriented at different angles. Anyone walking over the stones just needs to look down at their feet to read the words. Apropos to the building, the text is derived from a variety of sources including the writings of Supreme Court Justices, law professors, activists, and philosophers.

"Text in Stone," Jenny Holzer, US Courthouse, Sacramento, CA.

By selecting quotes that both contradict and compliment one another, Holzer’s intention was to elicit from the viewer both reflection and passion.  Words are an artistic medium that Holzer said can be “used to provoke thinking, emotion, and conversation.”

The other works of art on display throughout the 16 floors of the courthouse are:  “Gold Rush” by Tom Otterness, “The Decisions” by Larry Kirkland and Rita Dove, “Golden Mountain-Golden Fields” by Daniel Galvez, “On This Spot Stood the First Chinese Settlement in Sacramento” by Tony Berlant, “World Lines: Mapping the Journey of Spirit and Reason In Memory of My Father” by Kathleen Kasper-Noonen, “China Pattern” by Deborah Oropallo, “The Agreement” by Jack Nielsen, “Dream Within a Dream In Memory of the Pacific Asian Pioneers” by George Miyasaki, “Chinadom” by Holley Junker, “White Mountain Patriarch” by Peter Holbrook, “Beam Ends” by C.G. Simonds, and “Passage No. 3” by Steve Gillman.


One Response

  1. Wendy says:

    I was also moved by Holzer’s stone pavers. I wish they were on city sidewalks for all to view!

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