Cassiopeia

Michael Dunbar

American, born 1947

Cassiopeia, 2008

  • On View

Bronze

Dimensions: 60 × 72 × 108 in. (152.4 × 182.9 × 274.3 cm)

Gift of James and Kenneth Kilian, 2012.33

For more than thirty years, Michael Dunbar has been creating monumental abstract sculptures of steel and bronze. With their arcs, planes, and beams, they resemble giant gears and equipment with gleaming surfaces and precise attention to detail. The sculptures have the appearance of machines waiting to be activated and set in motion. Dunbar is inspired by the ever-advancing technology human beings continue to invent, noting “They're all about the celebration of the ingenuity of mankind, and how we started with these tools—which was a stick to knock the apple off the tree—and now we're exploring Mars.” This sculpture was inspired both by the exploration of the stars and the instruments used to study them; its title, Cassiopeia, is also the name of a constellation near the north celestial pole. Throughout history humans have used the stars as navigation tools, and we continue to look toward the sky to learn more about our place in the universe. Dunbar explores how this would not be possible without machinery and technology.

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