University Museums

Title: Alcove
Name: Installation
Date: 1995
Medium: Bronze and Limestone
Dimensions: 84 x 192 x 160 in. (213.4 x 487.7 x 406.4 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Commissioned by the Iowa Art in State Buildings Program for Carrie Chapman Catt Hall. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Originally located at Catt Hall, removed, altered, relocated in the Elizabeth and Byrom Anderson Sculpture Garden in 2011 and retitled Epilogue.
Location: Iowa State University, Anderson Sculpture Garden
Object Number: U95.62a-e
More Information
Alcove is intended as a place for quiet contemplation, for reading a book, or a place to meet and visit with a friend. The materials used in the building of Carrie Chapman Catt Hall and Morrill Hall convey a sense of solidity and permanency. The materials I've chosen for the sculpture also speak of solidity, timelessness, and even, nobility.

The installation work is sculpture, it is a place and it is a kind of architecture. The four elements that create and describe this area are: artist title Alcove Harriet Bart Location: Carrie Chapman Catt Hall (grand stairway) and Morrill Hall, Elizabeth and Byron Anderson Sculpture Garden (installed Nov. 2008) Material: bronze, limestone Size: variable Carrie Chapman Catt Hall and Morrill Hall Harriet Bart, 1995 Made possible by the Iowa Art in State Buildings Program

1) Three bronze pilasters, cast from altered and textured books; incorporated into vertical stucco walls of the niche. They are the primary focus of the installation. Located and Morrill Hall.

2) On the floor, an inscribed rectangular border containing text in bronze letters defines the space. The text is Pay Attention to What They Tell You to Forget, a poem from Double Ode by Muriel Rukeyser. Located at Morrill Hall.

3) One limestone bench provides seating and visually contains the space. Stacks of two to four casually placed cast bronze books are permanently affixed on each bench. Located at Morrill Hall. On the grand staircase of Catt Hall, the words invent, discover and remember are engraved on three step risers.

My work is conceptually based. I transpose and transform text and context, form and content, exploring the presentation of the cultural artifact as signified sculptural object. I understand architectural forms to reflect cultural grammars. My installations are cultural recontextualizations that comment on national structures. I seek to consecrate a place, mark an event, or comment on forms of memory in culture.

I am interested in the alchemy of the word, the iconography of text, the labyrinth of the book, the book as poetic object. I use books in combination with found objects and architectural fragments. I create an architecture and archeology of history and memory by re-forming books as walls, passageways, foundations, and enclosures.

Harriet Bart was born in Duluth, Minnesota and raised in San Francisco. She returned to the Midwest to receive her BA from the University of Minnesota and did further study at Macalester College, St. Paul, MN and California State University Fullerton, CA. She also studied privately with Spanish artist Josep Gran-Garriga.

Bart has been exhibiting her work since 1975. She has participated in more than 40 group and solo exhibitions in the United States, Germany and Japan, and has work in the collections of over 15 corporate institutions as well as private collections in the United States, Germany and Japan. One recent commission (1996) was for the Weisman Art Museum Sculpture Plaza in Minneapolis, MN. This installation, entitled Harvest, addresses the agricultural origins of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota, and the University's role as a land-grant institution. The creative process and relationship for this project began with her travels and involvement with Iowa State University during her commission for Alcove, Iowa State also having an important historical and traditional place as a leading land-grant institution.