Column I

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George Rickey

American, 1907 - 2002

Column I, 1962

  • On View

Stainless steel

Dimensions: 114 × 24 in. (289.6 × 61 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Davis, 1972.17

As the son of an engineer and grandson of a clockmaker, mechanical expertise was in George Rickey’s blood. Although he did not set out to be a sculptor, his service in the Army Air Corps in World War II changed everything. Designing and testing machine gun computing systems for B-29 bombers, Rickey became an expert on the effects of gravity and air currents on ballistics; this background was the foundation for his sculpting career.Creating motorless, moving sculptures became Rickey’s ambition, emphasizing performance as the primary aesthetic of his work. The motion of blade sculptures such as Column I is meant to be silent, slow, and unpredictable, creating a hypnotic effect. Contact points were sanded smooth to eliminate sound, with blades sanded in different amounts to create eye-catching light effects. These moving blades never touch regardless of how close they come, creating “kinetic line drawings in space”.

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