After 38 years, sculpture at GSU gets makeover
August 1, 2013 3:24PM
Gary Goings power washes the huge piece titled "Illinois Landscape No. 5" before treating rust and finally painting it in Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park at Governors State University. | Supplied photo
The yellow coloring of “Illinois Landscape No. 5,” a welded-steel sculpture by artist John Henry, had faded after 38 years in Governors State University’s Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.
Henry’s master work has graced the prairie landscape since it was commissioned with the assistance of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1975.
Thousands of students and visitors have viewed Henry’s work of contemporary sculpture. Now, with the support of donors, onlookers once again can appreciate it in its full glory. Funding for conservation work and painting came from Pathfinder memberships and other funds collected over the past six years.
“This is another important piece of the revitalization of Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, and we have our many supporters to thank,” park director and curator Geoffrey Bates said.
“‘Illinois Landscape No. 5’ is a major work of art from a variety of standpoints. With a span of 134 feet and elements stretching vertically to nearly 50 feet, the piece dominates the north side of the GSU campus. But that’s not why it’s important.”
In the late 1960s Henry helped organize Construct, a quasi-cooperative group of sculptors who almost single-handedly launched public art in the Midwest. The commission for “Illinois Landscape No. 5” grew directly out of Henry’s involvement with Construct and its cadre of artists.
This preservation is one of many efforts to conserve and renew the collection at Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, including other sculpture conservation projects, prairie-restoration initiatives and efforts to transform the park into even more of a beacon of serenity. As part of GSU’s “Living With Art” initiative, the park hosts activities and events throughout the year.
Celebrating 35 years, the park has grown into a major collection of 28 works.
The park, at 1 University Parkway in University Park, is open and free of charge from dawn until dusk 365 days. Tours can be arranged.
To support the park, visit www.govst.edu/sculpture/donate or call (708) 534-4486.