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.1, book opened
Courtesy Walker Art Center
.1, book opened Image Rights
cover of book
Courtesy Walker Art Center
cover of book Image Rights
Image Rights
.1, book opened
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Copyright retained by the artist


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Bridge Book
Siah Armajani
9-1/16 × 13-1/8 × ½ inches
woodcut, letterpress on paper
Not on view

Object Details

Books (Books)
Accession Number
Archive I
Physical Description
7 woodblock prints
Credit Line
Commissioned with funds provided in part by the Surdna Foundation, 1992

object label Siah Armajani, BRIDGE BOOK (1991) Walker Art Center, 1998

This artist’s book by Siah Armajani represents three commissions in one. In 1988, the Walker asked Armajani to design a bridge to link the site of the new Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with Loring Park. What resulted was the largest sculpture ever commissioned by the Walker, the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge. Armajani then approached American poet John Ashbery to write a poem for display on the bridge. Lastly, the Walker, with funds from the Surdna Foundation, commissioned Armajani to create a book about his bridge projects.

The construction of the bridge itself was a collaborative project; it was designed by the artist but built by the Minneapolis Transportation Association. The two colors represent different elements: the blue an arch bridge, and the yellow (chosen by Armajani to match Thomas Jefferson’s study at Monticello) a suspension bridge. The commissioning of the poem entailed letting Ashbery know how long it should be (approximately 700 letters) and what the site it would be read in was like. The poem that resulted is fittingly about motion, stillness, and place. By inviting an author to be a part of the artistic process, Armajani maintained his philosophy that art in public places should be accessible and should foster dialogue, debate, and learning among the whole community.

The Surdna Foundation fund emphasizes a similar approach to creating work. Small art objects (multiples and books) designed by artists with these funds are sold, and the profits return to the same fund to commission yet another artist the following year.

Label text for Siah Armajani, BRIDGE BOOK (1991), from the exhibition Commission Possible: Walker Art Center, 1980-1998, Andersen Window Gallery, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, November 21, 1998-August 1, 1999.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center