Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center will reflect, refract and rearrange the skyline of downtown Oklahoma City in September with Tomàs Saraceno's "Cloud City."
The large-scale art installation will open Sept. 8 at Campbell Art Park, adjacent to the site of Oklahoma Contemporary's planned art campus at NW 11 and Broadway.
Visitors to Cloud City will be able to walk inside what Saraceno calls "a utopian city in the sky." Made of steel and acrylic, the structure is both transparent and reflective, so that grass may appear overhead and the sky is reflected onto the ground. The 16 interconnected modules - each the size of a small room - draw shapes from natural forms, including bubbles, clouds, universes, bacteria, foam and animals' neural communication networks.
"Cloud City represents one direction Oklahoma Contemporary is headed artistically," says Jeremiah Matthew Davis, Oklahoma Contemporary's artistic director, in a news release. "Saraceno's interdisciplinary work connects art, engineering, science and innovation to create a fun, interactive and unique platform of exploration. This kind of project lays the groundwork for conversations across diverse fields and between communities, creating connections and opening doors to new ways of participating with art in Oklahoma City."
Previously shown on the rooftop of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, Colo., the 28-foot-tall installation in Campbell Art Park will reflect and reimagine the downtown Oklahoma City cityscape and our state's unending sky.
"When it is reassembled in a different place, the sky and the environment will be different; it will change completely," Saraceno says in the release.
"Cloud City" is expected to make a significant change on the site of Oklahoma Contemporary's future home.
"Bringing this massive installation to Campbell Art Park, overlooking the site of our future home, we hope visitors will be able to experience the Oklahoma sky and the buildings of downtown from the vantage point of the clouds," Davis says in the release. "While climbing through the complex, interconnected structure, people can look east and imagine how the landscape will change once we open our new building."
The sculpture shows how Saraceno, who studied art and architecture in his native Argentina and in Frankfurt, Germany, blends them with science and engineering. Instead of designing buildings, the artist has developed a series of projects that present alternative ways of perceiving reality and interacting with others.
During its four-week run, Cloud City will be open for exploration at scheduled intervals Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Oklahoma Contemporary will use an online ticketing system for reservations, and walk-ups will be admitted as space and time allow. Interior visitors must follow specific safety guidelines and will be required to sign a waiver to enter.
All visitors will be welcome to see the structure from ground level 24 hours a day.
Campbell Park is maintained by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Campbell Art Park, L.L.C., under an agreement with the City of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Contemporary began programming Campbell Art Park in 2014 with Orly Genger's "Terra." For more information on Oklahoma Contemporary's planned arts campus, go to oklahomacontemporary.org.