Public Art in Iowa

The State of Iowa has a rich art culture that includes many wonderful works of public art. These artworks may be commissioned by the state, by private organizations, or even by generous individuals, and can be found at airports, in hospitals, schools and universities, and even alongside highways! The Daily Palette is happy to feature these works created for the enrichment of our communities and the delight of our visitors.

Swirl, LED lights and steel, 28' x 94' x 29', 2016

Jim Campbell, born 1956 in Chicago, Illinois, is a contemporary San Francisco based artist who primarily works with LED light installations. Campbell began his artistic career in filmmaking but switched to electronic sculpture in 1990 and started making his iconic LED matrix works in 2000.

Commissioned by Des Moines Performing Arts and the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Swirl is located at the southeast section of Cowles Commons, at the corner of Walnut and 3rd Streets in Des Moines. The artist worked with Demiurge LLC, a sculptural fabrication company based in Denver, CO that was responsible for fabricating Campbell's design. Installation on the site began in October 2015 and the finished sculpture was dedicated in March 2016.

The artist explains,

The title had to both reference the shape and the movement of the imagery that will be seen at night. The form itself also implies movement. "Swirl" is both a verb and a noun so it seemed to make sense for my design. . . . In 1988, coming from a technical background in engineering and an artistic background in filmmaking, I began to create interactive video installations that involve the viewer and the viewer's response to a given situation. In creating interactive video art work, my goal has been to move away from the conventional computer screen "button pushing" interface and instead to move towards creating works that have a more intuitive level of interaction. Making a distinction between a work that is controllable and a work that is responsive. I have tried to create installations that are less about a viewer dominating a work, and more about viewers participating in the developing personality of a work. My work incorporates electronic memory, prerecorded images and live images.

Swirl demonstration on YouTube

This page was first displayed
on November 16, 2016

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