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The Andy Goldsworthy Project

January 22 – May 15, 2005
West Building, Ground Floor, Outer Tier Gallery G34

Andy Goldsworthy, Roof, 2004-2005, Buckingham Virginia slate, Patrons' Permanent Fund, 2005.86.1

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: 7 photographs, 9 diary sheets with photographs, and 6 drawings by British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy documented a 2-part project for the National Gallery of Art. First, the artist spent 9 days on Government Island, Stafford, Virginia, creating ephemeral works at the Aquia Creek sandstone quarry, source of the original building stones for both the White House and the Capitol. Goldsworthy recorded these works in the photographs and diary. The drawings detailed the development of phase 2: a site-specific, permanent sculpture entitled Roof, comprising 9 hollow, intersecting, stacked-slate domes on the ground floor in the East Building.

The first phase of the project began in October 2003 when Goldsworthy spent nine days on Government Island, Stafford, Virginia, site of the now abandoned but historic Aquia Creek sandstone quarry, which provided the original stone for the White House and Capitol buildings. The location proved a rich source of materials and inspiration for Goldsworthy. Here he modeled clay, extracted from the quarry and made pliable by a recent rain, into vertical ridges that he affixed to the face of a pointed rock. Goldsworthy documented his work with a diary (sponsored by The Nancy Lee and Perry Bass Fund) and photographs, now owned by the Gallery.

These photographs portray shifting rays of sunlight as it filters through a canopy of trees to reveal patterns of light and shadow as the day progresses. In his diary entry for October 16, 2004 he reflects:

The works I have made here have, I feel, understood the changing light that passes through this place. They have succeeded because they have worked with a specific time, place, and material—a meeting of light and form which I have never achieved in similar conditions before. I have been allowed a new way of looking.

The fragile works Goldsworthy made on Government Island have been blown away or washed off their stone supports by rain. The photographic suite and diary are among the only remaining impressions of Goldsworthy’s time on the island. Roof (made possible by the Patron's Permanent Fund of the National Gallery of Art) is the second phase of this two-part project.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Molly Donovan, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, was the curator.

Sponsor: The exhibition was made possible by the Patrons' Permanent Fund of the National Gallery of Art and the Nancy Lee and Perry Bass Fund.

Attendance: 39,061

Goldsworthy, Andy
British, 1956 -
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