Nashville is getting a work by one of the foremost names in contemporary American art, whose pieces can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and other venerable institutions. Aycock's public commissions include site-specific installations in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and, most recently, Kansas City, Mo.
"She's a very important artist in that she is located in history," said [Watkins College of Art's Terry Thacker], who served on the selection panel for the city's second public art project, forthcoming on the downtown Public Square. "You can open up an art history textbook, and there she is.
"She gained prominence in the late '70s, when art seemed to be at an endgame. Her 'storied machines' challenged the rigid notions of 'art for art's sake' and began to open the practice of art to the possibility of lyricism, allegory and references to specific sites and histories. Most artists assume that now, but it was a radical idea in the 1970s, and she was one of the early artists to do that."
From Saxon at the Nashville Charrette:
From [the top of the hill on Broadway at the Customs House], it has an amusement-park roller-coaster air to it, which to my mind is a perfect complement to the honky-tonk district framing the view. From the riverfront, or from the Shelby Street Bridge, it looks playful, like a stabile should (are there to be any moving parts? It would be fun if it were at least partly a mobile). Those who hate the industrial look won't like it, but I find it a perfect tribute to the days when the riverbank was a place where they made stuff; the red color matches both the nearby bridgework and the light towers of LP Field (themselves intended as a recollection of the East Bank's industrial past). Not only is it a fun piece, but I think it greatly superior to much of the representational stuff appearing in public around Nashville, such as Musica or The Recording Angel at SSC (which has the double disability of playing off a nearly obsolete technology). There's something portentous about a sculpture of the human form (perhaps because so much of such sculpture is intended to be monumental)--but, massive though it is, Ghost Ballet seems anything but.