Connect/Disconnect Exhibition

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Connect/ Disconnect Exhibition

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

Pictured Above: Upriver/Downriver by Mark Reigelman, 2015. Ohio River Monument by Simparch, 2015. Anthropocene Fossils by Jean Shin, 2015. Beneath the Surface by Mary Carothers, 2015. Field of Vision: A Garden for Others by Jenny Kendler, 2015.
Carothers and Reigelman photos courtesy of the artists.


Via was retained by The Metro Louisville Commission for Public Art (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, called Connect/Disconnect: Public Art Louisville, and led the selection of five local and national artists who designed and fabricated site-specific, temporary public artwork that was on view from August through November 2015. 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:
Anthropocene Fossils by Jean Shin. Inspired by ancient fossil beds, this installation imagined fossils of the future focused on today’s consumer waste and items swept down the river.


Upriver / Downriver by Mark Reigelman. 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.


Field of Vision: A Garden for Others by Jenny Kendler. A work combining science and aesthetics that 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.


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


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