The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
You only have one more week to experience an exhibit quite unique to Charlotte, "Remembering Cascade: Tinguely’s Last Sculpture." “Cascade,” a 40-foot motorized mobile suspended over a fountain, is installed in the Carillon office tower four blocks north of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
Between 1989 and 1991, Andreas Bechtler, patron of the Bechtler collection, witnessed the genesis and construction of Jean Tinguely’s last sculpture, “Cascade.” It was actually the Bechtler family who commissioned the sculpture from their longtime friend and fellow Swiss native, Tinguely, for the lobby of the Carillon, a building developed by the Bechtler's company, Hesta AG.
To mark the 20th anniversary of “Cascade’s” debut, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art put together "Remembering Cascade: Tinguely’s Last Sculpture." This exhibition only runs through Jan. 16, 2012 and provides a unusual private look at some of the letters, drawings, prints and found objects related to “Cascade” that Tinguely gave to the Bechtler family after the completion of the sculpture.
The exhibition serves as a unique focus on a single work by one of the 20th century’s most important kinetic artists. A complementary short film, featuring Bechtler's memories of “Cascade's” creation runs simultaneously in the museum's video gallery. Throughout the history of time, artists have had patrons, supporters, friends and family that were integral to their lives as artists. Rarely, is the public privy to this type of exchange.
Particularly interesting in the exhibition are the industrial fragments that Tinguely had considered for use in “Cascade” but, in the end, rejected. Those items offer a window on the artist’s idiosyncratic process where every object, even those that did not end up in the final piece, played a role in the larger work’s creation.
The kinetic artist Tinguely might be best known for his mechanical sculptures, but he was also a prolific painter who would represent the movement of his sculptures in two dimensions. Tinguely — the painter — is the focus of the “Modern Mondays” workshop Jan. 9.
Unfortunately, this workshop is sold out. But, if you are visiting the Bechtler the evening of Jan. 9, you’ll find folks getting their creative juices stimulated with an informal, interactive opportunity led by Bechtler teaching artist Ginny Boyd. She’ll be demonstrating Tinguely's sculptural painting style and his use of color, symbols, found objects and text.
Modern Mondays programs are free with museum admission. Of course, if you sign up for its e-mail list, you’ll be sure to have plenty of time to register for your favorite events.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (located at the Levine Center for the Arts), 420 S. Tryon St., Charlotte. The Carillon office tower is located at 227 W. Trade St., four blocks north of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. (It’s always free to enjoy the art — Tinguely’s and the other work — in the building lobby and lawn.)