Light and Space III
Artist: Robert Irwin
To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) commissioned artist Robert Irwin to create a light display for the Pulliam Great Hall which would transform the experience of entering the Museum galleries.
Installed on the walls surrounding the escalators, Irwin's Light and Space III is an arrangement of fluorescent light bulbs in an irregular grid pattern, which creates a feeling of both randomness and uniformity at the same time. Framing the sides of the escalators are stretched fabric screens which have the effect of filtering the light. To match the angle and depth of the escalators, a partition wall was hung from the ceiling. Lights mounted on this wall add depth to the display. The entire display was created at a cost of one million dollars and occupies an area of 3600 vertical square feet.
Artwork such as Light and Space III is unique by nature and engineering its display brought unique challenges. Silver Creek Engineering designed the wood stud partition wall and its support, as well as the support for the stretched fabric screen wall.
Due to the need to work three stories up, a manlift was required during construction. We analyzed the existing wood flooring and developed a plan to protect it from equipment damage during construction.
Working with the stretched fabric added some uncertainty to the project. Not knowing fully how the frame would respond to the stretching of the fabric, support and attachment methods were adjusted and finalized during installation.
View of the light wall from the third floor of the atrium
Perspective view showing the relative depths of the screen, hanging wall, and rear light wall