Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dennis Oppenheim :: Engagement, 1998

Rolled and painted steel pipe, steel grating, electric lights, acrylic, concrete foundation
Dimensions: 30’ x 30’ x 30’
Location: North end of parking lot at the front of the NMA building
Acquisition: Through a generous challenge grant from the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission

Engagement is comprised of two steel “wedding rings” that tilt away from each other. Atop the rings, in place of gems, are two steeple-roofed houses made of steel and acrylic and illuminated from within. The sculpture is a monument to the institution of marriage and ties directly to Reno’s history of quick marriage and easy divorce. Engagement was first installed on a traffic island at Broadway and 23rd Street in New York City in 1998 as part of a public sculpture project. Next it traveled to Monaco for the Monte Carlo International Sculpture Festival in July of 2000. After that it reached Reno and was temporarily placed at McKinley Arts and Culture Center until its permanent installation in front of the new NMA in 2003. The NMA’s Engagement is one of three versions that Oppenheim created; the others are in Palm Beach, Florida, and Leoben, Austria.

About Engagement, Oppenheim states, “By turning the traditional diamond into a dwelling, this work places the dynamics of union between two people and their life in the air, in a precarious balance…these homes are ready to slip, lean away from each other, or fall to the earth.” Additionally, Reno bears a personal significance to Oppenheim as he was once married here.

Note prepared by Kathleen Durham and Lois Smalley.