Antony Gormley, Habitat
Published on April 28, 2014
Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture in the 1970s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human being stands in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.
Habitat is the first-ever permanent, U.S. public art commission for british artist Antony Gormley. Permanently installed on the outdoor promenade at the anchorage museum at Rasmuson center, Alaska acting as an interface between the museum and the city. The house-sized sculpture is constructed from 57 welded stainless steel boxes that are 1 cm thick. The 24 foot-tall, 37,000 pound sculpture takes the form of a crouching man.
The 24-foot tall sculpture is meant to look like a crouching man from particular angles facing south along avenue C, with its back to avenue 6, when one approaches ‘habitat’ from the west side, they will see it in profile. However, for those traveling north-south on avenue c, the work will read as an abstract collection of boxes.
Transporting the sculpture to its resting site the work is designed to respond to the changing light and temperature conditions of Alaska, as well as offering shelter from the wind, snow and rain. Its form applies the urban grid to the body, relating this constructed self to the wider context of anchorage. It is an introduction to the collections of ethnography and art in the museum, and references the creation and development of the human habitat. It is also a meditation on the condition of urban man in relation to nature. The sculpture is funded by the municipality’s 1 percent for art program, which has been selecting and installing artwork for anchorage’s municipal buildings and schools since 1978.