Artist: Cliff Garten
Title: Luminous Bodies (2020)
Illuminating a Major Gateway into Arlington at Key Bridge
Luminous Bodies is the latest pubic art in Rosslyn
May 28, 2020 | News Release
Marking a major milestone in the completion of the Corridor of Light, a 13-year effort to create a vibrant gateway for Rosslyn’s central corridor, the installation of Luminous Bodies by Cliff Garten is set to conclude on Monday, June 1, 2020. Located at the Esplanade Bridge, North Lynn Street and Lee Highway (above I-66 and adjoining the approach to Key Bridge), these monumental sculptures mark a major entrance into Arlington from Washington DC.
In honor of America’s essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Luminous Bodies sculptures initially will be illuminated with a changing array of blue to blue-green light each evening (8 -10 p.m.). This #LightItBlue display will continue until the pandemic allows the artist to travel for the final programming and dedication of the sculptures.
“This installation will not only serve as a welcoming gateway to Rosslyn, but to the entire region,” said Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick. “Illuminating these sculptures blue in honor of essential workers is an inspiring example of our Arlington community’s continued resilience and unity.”
The four, 26-foot tall sculptures, comprised of formed stainless steel rods intersecting to define both exterior and interior surfaces, are enhanced with LED lights which will be programmed by the artist. On the underside of the dome of each structure, passersby will see splashes of light that the stainless steel rods then fracture into a multitude of visual effects.
Pedestrians will notice an enhanced design for the fencing along the length of the east side of the new bridge, which was also developed by artist Cliff Garten to complement the Luminous Bodies sculptures. Garten, Director of Cliff Garten Studio, is an advocate for transforming the often generic quality of urban infrastructure into something that is beautiful and provides a positive impact on American cities.
“This process can be long and difficult, but the payoffs can be tremendous, changing how we experience the city on a daily basis,” said Garten.
Luminous Bodies are funded by private development public art fund contributions from B. F. Saul Company & Affiliates, JBG SMITH, and 1881 Rosslyn Associates, LLC.
Frederick J. Lindstrom, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, commended Arlington’s effort towards an enhanced urban vision: “These gleaming monumental sculptures will provide a welcome entryway into the area and undoubtedly will add a vibrant dynamic to the streetscape, both day and night, for the enjoyment of everyone that lives in, works in, and visits Rosslyn. Arlington County’s excellent public art program, and its partners, collaborators, and supporters should all be congratulated on their commitment to this multi-year effort, and to their quest to enhance their urban environment with such high-quality public art. Luminous Bodies will be an excellent example of that commitment to creating good public art that enriches all of our lives.”
Luminous Bodies is the second of three planned public art installations by Cliff Garten Studio, collectively entitled Corridor of Light, marking three major access points between Arlington, Washington D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia. Garten’s Gravity and Grace (2018), the first phase of Corridor of Light, is a site-specific large-scale LED public artwork integrated into the architecture of Central Place Plaza. It is envisioned that these two projects will be joined by a corresponding installation of Luminous Bodies at the Meade Street Bridge. As a family of site-specific, infrastructure-as-art installations, these three projects provide iconic identification of entry points to Arlington and establish a shared language and 21st century identity for Rosslyn’s infrastructure.