COR-TEN, Curly, Columbia.

I really don’t have much to say about the sculpture. It exists. I know it exists. I see it basically every day, but I don’t internalize that existence. It does not penetrate into the inner recesses of my processing ability. Really, I just want to lie on it some days after my chemistry lectures. I’ve seen a few business students do that once, but usually, there is a fence around the lawn I don’t want to cause a scene. One of these days though…

Name: Curl


Artist: Clement Meadmore (1929-2005). Meadmore was an Australian-American abstract expressionist and minimalist sculptor. He studied industrial design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and exhibited a few art pieces in Australia before moving to New York City in 1963. Much of his work has a similar geometric quality to Curl as he worked to explore geometrics in his pieces. 


The Image: A curling rectangular prism. A singular form. However, the shape of the form changes depending on the perspective. Walking around the sculpture yields different shapes at different angles as parts obstruct and hide each other or come into view.

The Statue: An outdoor sculpture. Hollow, black-painted Cor-ten Steel. Three tons. Around 24 feet long, 12 feet high, and 11 feet wide. Varying sources disagree on the exact dimensions by a few feet. The sculpture itself is actually made of three parts that appear to be just in one singular form.

Where: In front of Uris Hall. Originally it was framed by two fountains. However, these fountains were removed when the Uris facade was built. The curl stayed in place.

When: Placed in 1968 by the gift of Percy Uris, a Columbia Business School alumnus. Multiple restoration efforts have been made due to the COR-TEN steel’s weathering quality, most recently in 2015.

Why: A contrasting nature of heaviness and lightness. The abstraction and movement of form. These emotions keep the viewer moving energized and moving forward. Personally, looking at all of his works (with just a quick Google search of his name), I begin to understand his vision with structured fluidity. There is both rigid order and playful freedom. Those ideas are harmonious to a college campus, especially one as reverent to the idea of the past as Columbia. There is order in the classical ideals of the institution with a hope to inaugurate a new frontier with it as a basis.

Uris Hall via Wikimedia Commons