Costa Mesa takes center stage in Orange County with an internationally acclaimed arts and theater district. With some of the finest visual arts installations…
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Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom commissioned Richard Serra to create Connector in 2006 as the highly visible focal point for the newly expanded Orange County Performing Arts Center. The 65 ft. high, 360-ton sculpture of weathered steel is the tallest of Richard Serra’s works to date & is set on a pentagonal ground plan. Constructed of 5 torqued steel plates that were fabricated in Germany, the sculpture was assembled on site.
George Rickey’s Four Lines Oblique Gyratory – Square IV is a study in opposition: his forms are simple and orderly, yet their movement is complex and spontaneous; they are strong enough to withstand forceful winds yet light enough to be moved by the slightest breeze. Elegantly understated and easy to miss because of its thin blades and reflective quality, the sculpture constantly changes its composition with the slightest force of nature.
Jim Huntington was commissioned by Henry Segerstrom in 1981 to create Night Shift, an irregular-shaped stone and metal sculpture. For this piece, Huntington selected a huge piece of Sierra white granite and chiseled it to 9 feet long by 10 feet wide. Night Shift, which weighs approximately 30 tons, is made from granite quarried near Fresno, California.
Commissioned by Henry Segerstrom in 1979 and completed in 1982, Isamu Noguchi’s California Scenario (also known in the Costa Mesa community as Noguchi Garden) is recognized as one of the country’s preeminent sculpture gardens and the most vital publicly accessible outdoor sculpture oasis in Southern California. Situated on 1.6 acres, the garden in its design symbolizes various geographical characteristics in California, incorporating indigenous plants and materials.
The Ram by Charles O. Perry is an excellent starting point from which to begin Costa Mesa’s “Art Walk.” This bright yellow painted steel sculpture was the second sculpture installed in Town Center Park, across from the Westin South Coast Plaza, and remains a colorful focal point there. Commissioned by Henry T. Segerstrom in 1979, the sculpture in its title and form suggests that Perry was inspired by animal horns, but he took the idea into the realm of abstraction.
Jean Dubuffet’s Tour Aux Jambes is loosely translated as “Encirclement of Limbs” or “Tower of Legs” – which describes Dubuffet’s theme of building a monolithic structure from entwined elements. His treatment of “limbs” is common to his anthropomorphic approach to sculpture in which the human contour is unmistakable. This artwork, made of epoxy and polyurethane, is rather like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, though its lines are only on the surface.
The cast bronze sculpture Oiseau by Joan Miró suggests a hybrid – part avian and part human. Miró believed that forms expressed by an individual should disclose the activity of the mond that wishes to escape from its present reality, to seek out new realities. As an example of Miró’s lifelong ability to draw inspiration from intuition and dreams, this bronze bird appears to have descended from a prehistoric age, or could personify an exact species.
Reclining Figure by Henry Moore is an iconic example of the British sculptor’s mature work and a 1984 gift from the Angels of the Arts, a major supporter of Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Reclining Figure, like the majority of Moore’s public works in cities around the world, is based on the human figure – usually standing, sitting, or most ofter, reclining on a plinth.
Henry Segerstrom commissioned Richard Lippold to create Fire Bird in 1985 for Segerstrom Hall as it was being constructed. This 60-foot-high sculpture was designed to be architecturally integrated into both the exterior and interior of the hall. The gold, red and silver colored stainless-steel and aluminum sculpture was named Fire Bird by the late Renée Segerstrom as an homage to Igor Stravinsky’s famous ballet of the same name.
Fermi by Tony Smith is the artist’s homage to Enrico Fermi, the Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist who investigated quantum theory and atomic structures. The balls and connecting bonds in this modular form resemble greatly magnified particles of the atom. In Fermi, acquired by Henry Segerstrom in 1975, Smith directs the viewer to consider the complex structure of nature while offering up a form that can also be appreciated for its uncomplicated elegance.
Commissioned by Henry Segerstrom in 1991, Utsurohi 91 by Aiko Miyawaki consists of a series of 12 ten-foot columns set in an elliptical configuration with chromium-plated steel “threads” intertwining in graceful patterns from the top of each column. On the interior surface of each column, a small stone rectangle displays a glossy relief image of one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. In this quiet piece there is a hint of the poetic states of the moods of nature.