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Collections Hare on Bell on Portland Stone Piers

Collections Hare on Bell on Portland Stone Piers

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Courtesy Walker Art Center
Rights
Copyright retained by the artist

Copyright

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Title
Hare on Bell on Portland Stone Piers
Date
1983
Dimensions
overall installed 102 × 112 × 75 inches
Materials
bronze, limestone
Location
On view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Object Details

Type
Sculpture
Accession Number
1987.63
Credit Line
Gift of Anne Larsen Simonson and Glen and Marilyn Nelson, 1987

artwork entry Barry Flanagan, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1998

Throughout his career, Barry Flanagan has been challenging the status quo in sculpture. As a student in London in the 1960s, when other artists were using industrial methods and materials, Flanagan began shaping such unorthodox substances as sand, burlap, felt, and plastic into ephemeral shapes, focusing on the process of artmaking rather than the finished, permanent object. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, by contrast, when figurative sculpture was hardly the norm, Flanagan began making representational images (hares, helmets, and horses) using surprisingly traditional materials and processes: lost-wax bronze casting, gilding, stone carving. Here, an exuberant, bounding hare balances atop a classically formed bell, providing an interesting study in contrasts. The sinuous lines and playful vitality of the hare counter-balance the elegant formality of the bell, which evokes centuries of the bronze-casting tradition. The novel juxtaposition of the two forms—both symbols of fertility and both frequent motifs in Flanagan’s art—conjures up new and fantastic associations.

Jenkins, Janet, ed. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 1998, no. 32.

© 1998 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource Barry Flanagan, Hare on Bell on Portland Stone Piers (1983) Walker Art Center, 1998

Throughout his career, Barry Flanagan has been challenging the status quo in sculpture by using different materials and techniques in his works. As a student in London in the 1960s, when other artists were using industrial methods and materials, Flanagan began shaping sand, burlap, felt, and plastic, focusing on the process of artmaking rather than the finished, permanent object. Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, Flanagan has been working with bronze casting, gilding, and stone carving. For Hare on Bell on Portland Stone Piers the artist pairs a hare and a bell–both frequent subjects in his work and both symbols of fertility. Regardless of the sculpture’s many possible meanings, the playfulness of the leaping hare and the formal, elegant bronze bell provide an interesting study in contrasts. The elongated rabbit communicates a sense of spontaneity and delight, while the supporting structure of the bell evokes the longstanding tradition of bronze casting.

Text for Barry Flanagan, Hare on Bell on Portland Stone Piers (1983), from the curriculum guide The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: A Garden for All Seasons, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center