NEW YORK, NY.- The Census Project, a large-scale public art project created by artist Anita Glesta for the United States General Services Administrations Art in Architecture Program (GSA) at the United States Census Bureau Headquarters in Suitland, Maryland, will be inaugurated on Monday July 12, 2010.
Covering more than seven acres, the project attempts to humanize the abstraction of the census (data and numbers) as it draws attention to the history of numbers and the diversity of people in the United States.
Glesta eschews the decorative and seductive qualities often found in public art in favor of a more defiant tone. Her public work takes into account the interaction of time, place and people and has a political undertone aimed at resolution and integration.
A winding path and a series of reliefs playfully disrupt concepts of order and categorization associated with counting. A variety of numerical systems, including Native American and Asian, appear throughout the installation. Oversized numbers are built as areas for seating so they can serve as places to congregate outside the building.
According to Glesta This project is a mediation on the notion of counting and order with a global perspective. Like her other public work, the Census Project explores the integration of the physical and the social using sculpture and landscaping to create a connection between people and the land.
Glesta did extensive historical research for the project. As an example, she discovered that the Sioux Indians gave the first census takers bundles of sticks to indicate size of families. This information helped transcend the traditional use of numerical symbols eliciting mythic elements from these usually straightforward signs. The resulting atmosphere is both mystical and accessible, intensifying the individuals connection to the physical environment.
Anita Glesta is an artist who specializes in creating large-scale, international public art projects with a focus on the creation of place connected to specific historic events.
Glesta was born in New York and has lived in Bilbao, Spain and Sydney, Australia. In 1994, she was commissioned by the Sydney City Council to create the site-specific Yurong Water Gardens project in downtown Sydney.
Returning to New York in 2000, she created Pedazos, a response to 9/11, in the open-air courtyard at Black & White Gallery in Williamsburg.
Glestas work has been shown in galleries and museums, worldwide. Her multi-channel, two-phased, project Gernika/Guernica; Desde el Cielo Hasta el Fondo was exhibited in New York in 2007 at White Box (Chelsea) and at Chase Manhattan Plaza, sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. It has subsequently been exhibited internationally.
In 2008, during a residency at the Liguria Center in Bogliasco, Italy, Glesta began work on a series of video projects based on Masaccios Expulsion from The Garden of Eden. The triptych-style installation was show at Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn. This multi-channel installation will be the focus of a major exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy in 2011.
For the COP 15 Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December 2009, Glesta presented a multi-channel video installation commissioned by Artport, a curatorial group, in conjunction with the United Nations.
Glesta has been the recipient of many grants and awards including a Pollock-Krasner Grant, a 2002 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in the category of Architecture and Environmental Structures, a New York State Council of the Arts Grant (NYSCA) for new media technologies and an Australian Council Grant.
Glesta teaches a summer residency program at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. She has lectured about her work and taught at Harvards Graduate School of Design (GSD), the school of the Bellas Artes in Barcelona, Spain, the Sydney College of the Arts (Australia) and the University of New South Wales/Built Environment (Australia).