News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, April 20, 2018

But Is It Art? Reston Awash In Fancy New Public Statuary

If you listened to people talk about what's becoming of our favorite plastic fantastic planned community in recent months, you'd think that we were in the midst of a relentless transformation into a soulless quasi-urban hellscape from which there's no escape (except via Metro, when it's not on fire). Silly rabbits, nothing could be further from the truth! Because of all that bollardy new construction, our lives are being massively enriched through the magic of improved infrastructure and services public art! Take our hands and follow us through a magical tour of why Reston is basically becoming like an outdoor version of the Louvre, only with a wider range of casual dining options.

First up, we have "Untitled," an art by Danny Lane currently being installed in the newly slenderized Presidents Park in Reston Town Center, within sight of the bloodthirsty Triffids. This bendy boi likes quiet walks in stressful city-like shopping centers, midscale chain retail shoppers who aren't afraid to cry, and "tapered, elliptical granite benches that mimic the line of the landscaped circle." But What Does It Mean?

Through his work, [Lane] contrasts the seeming fragility of glass as a material with the sturdiness of steel to create sculptures that are at once commanding and elegant.
It's a pretty An Art, to be sure, but art is in the eye of the beholder, and to us it symbolizes the twists and turns that would-be RTC patrons must make to decipher the paid parking regulations at our favorite fake downtown.

But wait, there's more! Called "The Force of Nature," this strong boi by artist Lorenzo Quinn can be seen hanging out in our favorite "Civic Plaza" at the Wiehle-Reston Metro station, replacing our previous favorite, if oddly sexualized, An Art there. But What Does It Mean?

“We humans think of ourselves as supreme beings, above all others and in absolute control of our destiny and our surroundings. We live with a false sense of security only to be awakened by Mother Nature’s fury, almost as if she needs to remind us of her presence and our responsibility towards her child (The Earth).

After having seen the ravaged coast of Thailand and the Hurricane that affected the Southern States I decided to create a sculpture dedicated to Mother Nature. This would be reminiscent of the early statues made as peace offerings to the Gods in the hope of quenching their anger.

In essence, people are not very different today from the people who lived thousands of years ago. We still devote ourselves to symbols in order to escape our destiny.”

To us, it looks like the figure is trying to heave a cannonball into one of the glass-filled parallelograms that surround it, or maybe clear some space in the line for Founding Farmers, but clearly we don't know our An Art!

Right across the street is yet another An Art. This round boi is called "Convergence," and its camera-like appearance is a tribute to the name of the apartment building it sits in front of, the Aperture. Created by Reston artist Zachary Oxman, who also sculpted Lake Anne's Metal Bob Untold Stories, What Does This An Art Mean?

Oxman describes his sculptural works as “allegories,” illustrating emotions and intangible impulses through story. Convergence uses the metaphor of a camera for the convergence of the intangible becoming tangible, the idea or inspiration becoming reality and perfectly suits the vision for Aperture where it is installed. The aperture of the lens reveals a crouching figure while the highly polished steel dome back of the sculpture reflects the building or anyone standing in front of it.
Does it reflect even more wacky changes of materials and claddings on the building than it actually has?

But our favorite An Art? The one that's replacing a legitimate piece of art.

Called "The Portal Seats of Memory," by Reston artist Marco Rando, these concrete blocks in the midst of a construction zone are a (legitimately) decent tribute to the work of architect Marcel Breuer, whose brutalist API Building was razed over the protests of preservationists for a buncha townhouses. But What do these blocky bois Mean?

The Portal Seats of Memory is a series of five sculptural stools cast in concrete to be aligned corner to corner. The intentions supporting the work are to commemorate Marcel Breuer’s design of the API building and his earlier contributions to the world of Architecture and furniture. The sculptural stool form is derived from Breuer’s repetitive use of trapezoids in many of the window (portal) designs of his buildings. The cast concrete process was used to form these architectural elements. Breuer’s noted Brutalist style embraced the natural concrete finish accentuated by essential form. Marco Rando’s intention is to use the same method and process to achieve form on an ergonomic scale. All but one stool are imprinted with the API Building footprint and the other stool will have a quote by Marcel Breuer on one side and the address of the API Building on the other.

Five seats are representative of the five physical senses, and the act of sitting ultimately engages the use of memory.

No word if the developer is going to commission, say, a display of pastel Swatches to "engage the memory" of the 80s masterpiece it razed right next door.

What's interesting is that each of these projects was funded by the developers of the sites that they sit on -- Boston Properties, Comstock, Bozzuto/Veatch, and Sekas Homes, respectively. Good on them for enriching the "built environment," as us sophisticated observers of public space filthy "web loggers" call it, even as it gets a lot more built.


  1. I could have sworn that last one was a new bollard design. If it's not it should be.

  2. On the good side, the art is better than the buildings going up around them.

    On the bad side, that's not saying much.

  3. Fuck, I know I'm super late to this, but this is funny.


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