Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Gate of Hope

Next up on our Honolulu public art tour is Gate of Hope, an enormous orange-red sculpture on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus, created in 1972 by sculptor Alexander Liberman. The Public Art Archive link above describes it:

Standing thirty feet high in front of the Engineering Building and painted bright red with an industrial epoxy finish, 'Gate of Hope' was fabricated of three-eights inch thick plates, cut, rolled, welded and installed by the Hawaiian Welding Company. The work is formally integrated with the precise geometry and the primary color accents of Holmes Hall, while its configuration changes dramatically with the observer's moving viewpoint.

A campus public art tour brochure just says of it: "Red-orange painted steel sculpture refers to engineering principles that allow people to build complex structures." That brochure dates to 1998 so it's bound to be outdated; there's probably a newer guide out there, but this is the one I could find a PDF of. That's probably fine for our needs since it's not like the sculpture has changed over time, although they did repaint it back in 2016.

This isn't the first Liberman sculpture to appear here; he also created the vastly smaller (but same-colored) Contact II in Jamison Square in Portland's Pearl District. That post mentioned Gate of Hope in passing as one example of the large scale Liberman usually worked at, and noted that his signature color seen here is actually a cadmium red. Wikipedia says the cadmium compound used in pigments is not all that toxic, at least by cadmium standards, but you're still probably better off not licking the art.

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