Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: July 11, 2013 12:21:02 PM PDT
Artwork at WWU One of Top 50 Public Art Projects Last Year in U.S.

Contact:  Sarah Clark-Langager, Western Gallery director, (360) 650-3963 or Sarah.Clark-Langager@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM – Americans for the Arts has recognized the Do Ho Suh’s artwork “Cause & Effect” at Western Washington University as one of the top 50 public art projects last year in the United States.

Americans for Arts’ Public Art Network Year in Review program recognizes exemplary and innovative, permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in the previous calendar year. 

“Cause & Effect” was installed last spring in partnership with the Public Art Program of the Washington State Arts Commission and dedicated June 8, 2012, at the Academic Instructional Center (AIC) West building on Western’s campus.

“When the Do Ho Suh project at Western is singled out as exceptional in its field, it clearly signals again why we already have been ranked as having one of the top 10 university collections in the U.S.,” said Sarah Clark-Langager, Western Gallery director.

Three independent public art experts – John Carson, artist and head of Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Art, Norie Sato, Seattle artist, and Justine Topfer, project manager, San Francisco Arts Commission and private curator – juried the 2013 Year in Review. Their selections were announced June 13 at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference in Pittsburgh. Over 350 projects were submitted for review and 50 finalists selected.

Founded in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

The “Cause & Effect” ceiling installation, approximately 19 feet high and 8 feet across at its greatest width, hangs down from the ceiling of the AIC West building. At the top there is a stainless steel plate – from which hang the individual strands of figures connected by a stainless steel cable; each figure, made of colored acrylic resin, is approximately 5.5 inches high with a frontal view width of 3 inches.

Internationally acclaimed artist Do Ho Suh uses memories of his childhood in Korea to address issues of interpersonal space, identity, and the transitory qualities of existence in today’s globalized society. The mindset of the individual, coming together as a group, is a topic of great importance in his work, as shown by his artwork at Western. Do Ho Suh has described “Cause and Effect” as evoking a vicious tornado, with the vast ceiling installation a composition of densely hung strands that anchor thousands of figures clad in colors resembling a Doppler reading stacked atop one another. “Cause & Effect” is a physical realization of existence, suggesting strength in the presence of numerous individuals. The work is an attempt to decipher the boundaries between a single identity and a larger group, and how the two conditions coexist.

Western has a distinguished history of art in public places. Considered as one of 10 acclaimed university collections in the United States, the Outdoor Sculpture Collection is nationally recognized for its leadership in the concept of art in the daily, living environment of an university community. The sculpture collection features major international, national and regional artists who address such issues as the relationship of nature and culture, human scale, types of narration, personal perceptions and spatial dynamics. Whether temporary installations or permanent objects, figurative or abstract in appearance, these works represent sculpture from 1960 to the present.

For more information about the Outdoor Sculpture Collection, which is part of Western’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, see: http://www.wwu.edu/cfpa/sculpture.shtml.


Photos by Matthew Anderson | WWU

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