Minneapolis, May 2, 2013 — In celebration of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s 25th anniversary, the Walker Art Center will install For Whom… (2012) by artist Kris Martin in late June. The sculpture will be dedicated to Martin Friedman, former director of the Walker Art Center from 1961-1990, who spearheaded the creation of the Garden, now a beloved Minneapolis landmark.
“Through the addition of this large freestanding work by Belgian artist Kris Martin, the Walker adds to the extraordinary foundation of public artworks for the Twin Cities community,” said Darsie Alexander, Chief Curator at the Walker. “It is a striking addition to one of the most renowned urban parks in America.”
For Whom… is a towering construction that features a large church bell that moves without emitting a sound. The title refers to the phrase for whom the bell tolls, referring to both the poem by John Donne and the Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name. It alludes to the preciousness of life and its endless cycles from birth to death. Moving in its own silent rhythm, the bell evokes daily rituals typically marked by the sound ringing—a time check, a call for collective prayer, a commemoration of the deceased, or as a warning of a storm. Yet all of these associations come to life in the viewer’s imagination. According to the artist, “This is the blank space that I show. In this gap you can place something of your own.”
Martin did not want to cast a bell especially for this piece but rather sought to use one that had a history. Normally, it would only be possible to find a bell that had been damaged during the casting process, and, therefore, discarded. The bell used in For Whom… worked well but an unknown confluence of factors, possibly an imperfect tone, rendered it unfit for placement in the tower of a small church in southern Germany. However through the creation of this artwork, the flaws of the bell became its assets: the visual power and resounding silence of the work are stunningly in evidence. By virtue of a subtle intervention, a clerical instrument is turned into a humanitarian one, pointing to the inexorable passage of time. On the occasion of this landmark anniversary, no theme could be more apt.
Gift of Judy Dayton, Margaret and Angus Wurtele, Harriet and Edson Spencer, Martha and Bruce Atwater, Sage and John Cowles, Ellie and Tom Crosby, Jr., Nor Hall and Roger Hale, Miriam and Erwin Kelen, Linda and Lawrence Perlman, Joanne Von Blon, and Penny Winton, in honor of Martin Friedman, with additional funds provided by the Frederick R. Weisman Collection of Art, 2013
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a project of the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board.