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Artwork of the Month: Charles Ginnever's Nautilus


Walker Art Center


July 2000

Institution Walker Art Center
Artwork of the Month: Charles Ginnever's <em>Nautilus</em>, Walker Art Center
Artwork of the Month: Charles Ginnever's Nautilus

The Artwork of the Month's activity and label focus on a single work in the Walker's collection and provide entertaining art experiences for young people. You can see an activity with the ArtsConnectEd image viewer or download the PDF file to your computer. Use the Prev/Next buttons to move between images of the PDF and the actual file.

About the Artwork

Charles Ginnever has been creating large-scale steel sculptures for public spaces since the mid-1960s. The design for his mammoth work Nautilus was inspired by the spiraling, chambered shell of the marine mollusk known as the nautilus.

Monumental in size, Nautilus is made of Cor-Ten steel, a gray metal that in time rusts and changes to a rich brown. Like Richard Serra’s Five Plates, Two Poles, also constructed from massive plates of this material, the sculpture’s seemingly precarious balance suggests impending collapse. To understand its spatially complex form, the viewer must circle Nautilus, tracing the spiral motion of the progressively sized chambers in order to discover the secret of its simple design: six flat parallelograms have been folded at regularly increasing intervals and welded together. The piece as a whole appears to slowly rise, come apart, and open. The changing light and seasons interact with the surface of the work to create subtly shifting visual effects.

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Type: Instructional Material
Grades: pre-K-12
Instructional Method: Classroom Discussion, Gallery Discussion, Self-paced Learning
Rights: ©July 2000 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: June 5, 2009