Art Ark 1981, refabricated 2006
Artist: Terrence Karpowicz (American, b. 1948)
Materials: weathered wood, steel and brass fittings
Provenance: Gift of Morris Lipschultz
Terrence Karpowicz lives and works in Chicago, creating sculpture in a variety of media. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he received degrees from Albion College in Albion, Michigan and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before being awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to study with Jim Davies, British master millwright. The experience with Davies provided definition in Karpowicz’s search for a personal aesthetic, one that continues to value a supreme degree of craftsmanship coupled with an honest approach to materials.
Building upon his Fullbright experience, Karpowicz created a series of works in the early 1980s made primarily of wood. Each possessed an interactive, kinetic component – visitors were able to move and play with the carefully crafted and balanced elements - establishing a level of understanding beyond its visual attributes.
Art Ark evolved from two threads of interest: during a stay at the Ox-Bow artists’ colony in Saugatuck, Michigan, Karpowicz produced works he called “Vehicles for Transportation to the Afterlife.” Somewhat coincidentally, he visited Egypt shortly thereafter and became fascinated by the ancient Egyptian preparation of the dead. His interest in the interactive possibilities of sculpture came together with these experiences.
He thought, “How wonderful it might be to create an object which a person could enter and actually move.” Art Ark is designed so that a person might sit on the lowest bar of the lattice at the open end and gently rock the structure back and forth.
In 2006, after the piece had spent 23 years outdoors, the artist graciously agreed to re-fabricate the piece. Visitors are no longer allowed to play inside it.