Perforated Object - Reno, NV
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 39° 31.279 W 119° 48.636
11S E 258402 N 4378403
A silhouette art sculpture inspired by and archaeological artifact, situated outside the Bruce R. Thompson United States Courthouse and Federal Building in Reno, Nevada.
Waymark Code: WME6ED
Location: Nevada, United States
Date Posted: 04/09/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 6

This large steel sculpture, appropriately titled, Perforated Object, stands just outside the U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in downtown Reno, Nevada. While the plaque for the sculpture list it as "Perforated Object", online sources list it as "Perforated Object #27", apparently referring to it's 27 foot length.

"Heizer has always worked on more traditionally scaled sculpture, painting, and drawing. In 1997, the General Services Administration (GSA) commissioned him to provide a sculpture for the narrow garden area in front of the Bruce R. Thompson Federal Courthouse at South Virginia and Liberty streets in Reno, Nevada, and selected Heizer's Perforated Object #27. Among the objects found by Dr. Robert Heizer's team during their 1936 excavation of Humboldt Cave is a curious piece of bone generally shaped like a fish—4.6 by 1.7 inches, it is drilled with ninety one-quarter-inch holes, with no explanation ever found for its use or meaning. The bone inspired Perforated Object #27. The weathered steel structure, 9.75 feet high by 27 feet long and 3.33 feet wide, is mounted at a ninety-degree angle to the tall, formal, grid-designed white marble structure behind it. The GSA's Reno community advisory committee asked for a smaller, second work for the rear of the building—a series of weathered steel rings representing the holes from Perforated Object. Initial public reaction to Perforated Object was negative.

While jokes about fish and swiss cheese can be heard a decade later, the work has become part of the ensemble of the building, the garden, and the distant view of Mt. Rose and the Carson Range. Passersby see a varying kaleidoscope of tree branches, grass, granite boulders, and bits of the surrounding urbanscape through its holes. Even the most hurried observer has to note the contrast in texture and surfaces between the sculpture and its surroundings, while the leisurely visitor has to resolve the ever-changing framed images." (visit link)

The plaque, attached to a large granite boulder, situated just to the south of the sculpture, reads as follows:


Steel sculpture in two parts:
Virginia Street element: 27' long, 9'9" high, 5'5" wide
Liberty Street element: 34' long, 1'3" high, 3'6" wide

Perforated Object was inspired by an artifact discovered in 1936 in a excavation headed by anthropoligst and archaeologist Robert F. Heizer, the artist's father. The original artifact unearthed in the Humboldt Cave nearly 100 miles southeast of Reno, was carved from the horn of a bighorn sheep and "perforated" by 90 holes drilled through it. Created over 1500 years ago and left with the belongings of a Shoshone shaman. It's purpose remains unknown, though it may have been of spritual or ritual use.

Thi modern interpretation of the original object is constructed of bridge building steel and is approximately 450 times larger in size. The rough line of steel rings, placed on the opposite side of the building represent the negative space of the perforations, a reminder of the artifacts mystery. Perforated Object, fabricated at the artists Nevada studio, is simultaneously a contemporary public artwork and an emblem of the original early Native American inhabitants of the region.

Michael Heizer, the artist, was born in 1944 in Berkeley, California, and grew up visiting archaeoligical sites around the world. He is one of America's most improtant and internationally acclaimed sculptors.

Commissioned for the United States by the General Services Administration
Art-in-Architecture Program
Title of Piece: Perforated Object

Artist: Michael Heizer

Material/Media: Steel

Location (specific park, transit center, library, etc.): Outside the Bruce R. Thompson United States Courthouse and Federal Building

Web link(s) for additional information: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:

Enjoy taking your photos from varying angles to really show off the beauty of the piece. Please include your impressions of the piece.

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Chasing Blue Sky visited Perforated Object - Reno, NV 11/08/2011 Chasing Blue Sky visited it