News Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art Unveils Life-Size Snowman Sculpture

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Cleveland (January 7, 2020) — A sculpture composed of a snowman encased in a freezer is on view now in the Ames Family Atrium at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Snowman, first constructed by Swiss artists Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946–2012) in 1987, when they were commissioned by a German power plant to create a site-specific work, is a frost-coated copper sculpture filled with water. The box encasing it creates a microclimate that is kept humid; over time, condensed water collects on the surface of the form and freezes, transforming the copper base into a snowman.

The surprise of encountering a snowman inside the museum gestures to recurring tensions in Fischli and Weiss’s practice—between the fleeting and permanent, the natural and artificial. It is also an indication of the playfulness that is a hallmark of their work. Snowman is a generous temporary loan from the Scott Mueller family. It’s on view through Sunday, September 6, 2020. 

Image caption: 

Snowman, 1987/2016. Peter Fischli (Swiss, b. 1952) and David Weiss (Swiss, 1946–2012). Copper, aluminum, glass, water, coolant system; 218 x 128 x 165 cm (85 7/8 x 50 3/8 x 65 inches). © Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery. Lent by the S. Mueller Family


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About the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 63,000 artworks and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. The museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship and performing arts and is a leader in digital innovations. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation, recognized for its award-winning Open Access program and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the University Circle neighborhood.

The museum is supported in part by residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and made possible in part by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts. The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically. For more information about the museum and its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit cma.org.