Connect/ Disconnect

Client: The Metro Louisville Commission for Public Art
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Selected artists: Jean Shin, Mark Reigelman, Jenny Kendler, Mary Carothers, Simparch

Via worked with The Metro Louisville Commission for Public Art (COPA) to develop the temporary public art exhibition Connect / Disconnect: Public Art Louisville, on view from August through November, 2015.

Via was retained by COPA to develop a public art project for a site west of downtown and adjacent to the Louisville Loop, a pedestrian and bicycle trail along the Ohio River. After the first site visit and initial stakeholder meetings, Via advised COPA to transition from a permanent installation to a temporary exhibition that invites artists to explore the city’s urban riverfront.

The site sits at the intersection of many threads of Louisville’s history and geography, and is quite literally the intersection of its transportation network; highways, trains, barges, and trails all converge at this riverfront spot. In spite of all of this activity, it is largely a place that is passed through, that connects people with other places without being a place itself.

Via developed the curatorial framework for the exhibition and led the selection of five local and national artists who designed and fabricated site-specific, temporary public artwork. Through the artists’ work, and associated community programs, Connect/Disconnect invited visitors to explore and contemplate the riverfront in its present state and engage with the many layers of the vibrant postindustrial river city. The projects included:

Jean Shin, Anthropocene Fossils. Inspired by ancient fossil beds, this installation imagines fossils of the future focused on today’s consumer waste and items swept down the river.

Mark Reigelman, Upriver / Downriver. Barrel stacks the size of mountains lined early Louisville’s riverfront as its cargo- everything from bourbon to gold- was portaged around the Falls of Ohio. The stacks are reimagined in this installation to symbolize transport, industry and growth. Photo credit: Upriver/Downriver © 2015 Mark Reigelman II | Commissioned by Louisville Metro Government and the Commission on Public Art

Jenny Kendler, Field of Vision: A Garden for Others. A work combining science and aesthetics focuses on wildflowers and their crucial role in supporting pollinators, conservation and the ecosystem. This project was nominated as a finalist for SxSW Eco Awards 2015 Place by Design.

Mary Carothers, Beneath the Surface. Over 2,000 door knobs affixed to rods of various heights are arranged into a flowing topography, each representing an individual’s story within the community.

Simparch, Ohio River Monument. This cluster of driftwood and other debris built on an elevated framework illustrates the power and unpredictability of the Ohio River.