The Cleveland Museum of Art is pleased to present the acquisition of a monumental sculpture by American artist Jim Hodges (born 1957) commissioned for the museum’s Donna and Stewart Kohl Sculpture Garden. The garden is located on the museum’s east lawn, near East Boulevard, and was created as part of the renovation and new construction of the CMA.
Untitled (bridge of harmony), 2012/2014, takes the shape of three monumental rough-hewn granite boulders. The rocks have been alchemically transformed by a layering of stainless steel and dynamic shades of dichroic pigment, appearing as if they were partially dip-dyed in glimmering metal, altering their appearance at every angle. Because the boulders are arranged so that the metal facing points to the center, viewers are surrounded by a vibrating field of color. The three boulders, which Hodges located in the Cape Cod region of Massachusetts, range in weight from just under three tons to nearly 20 tons.
The work evokes the age-old maxim of natural vs. man-made beauty. It is a very thoughtful work of art that suggests that we should not be afraid of embracing beauty as an integral part of life. Untitled (bridge of harmony) can be seen as a continuation of the traditions begun by ancient civilizations in which monumental stele and menhirs were used to mark territory and signify beliefs. The primordial stones, which have been interrupted by Hodges with very recent technology, likewise mark the achievements of 21st-century artists and the role of culture within contemporary society. Untitled (bridge of harmony) is the third work by Hodges to enter CMA’s collection, joining In Blue, a major work from the 1990s consisting of a hanging field of hundreds of flattened artificial flowers intricately sewn together, which also allows the viewer to dwell upon the intrinsic beauty hidden within the manmade.
Hodges is regarded as one of the most pre-eminent artists of his generation for his ability to poetically transform the objects that surround us in our daily lives by imbuing them with poignancy and emotion. His artworks belong in public collections across the world and his oeuvre is currently the subject of a major career retrospective, Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, opening June 4th at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.
In the meantime, you can see Untitled (bridge of harmony) on display in the Donna and Stewart Kohl Sculpture Garden at the Cleveland Museum of Art.