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Detroit Institute of Arts receives monumental Ursula von Rydingsvard sculpture
“Bowl with Folds,” 1998–99, Ursula von Rydingsvard, cedar, graphite. Gift of Janis B. and William M. Wetsman. Detroit Institute of Arts. Photo © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

DETROIT, MICH.- The Detroit Institute of Arts received a gift of the monumental Ursula von Rydingsvard sculpture “Bowl with Folds” from ardent museum supporters Janis B. and William M Wetsman. The piece will be on long-term loan to College for Creative Studies (CCS) for installation in its Josephine F. Ford Sculpture Garden, located on John R St. at Kirby St. Von Rydingsvard will give a free talk about her work at the museum Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., sponsored in part by the Reva Stocker Lecture Series Fund and the A. Alfred Taubman Foundation and organized by the DIA’s Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art.

“We are happy to continue our long-time collaboration with CCS,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “While we actively loan art to other institutions, it is especially meaningful to work with our cultural center neighbors. The CCS sculpture garden was established in 2005 as a joint effort, with DIA pieces on loan for the public to enjoy. We look forward to expanding the impact of public art in the neighborhood as we move forward with the development of the DIA’s plaza and its connections throughout Midtown.”

During her remarkable career, Ursula von Rydingsvard has become of the most important sculptors working today. Von Rydingsvard uses cedar as her primary material. Using both carving and construction methods, the artist cuts and reassembles wooden beams to produce monumental, abstract sculptures. She describes the materiality of wood as an important factor of her work and practice; wood has “the right solidity and give, clean-cut lines, unobtrusive grain.”

Von Rydingsvard’s characteristic form is the bowl in its simplicity and variety, which is represented in “Bowl with Folds.” The bowl forms developed when she began experimenting with new ways to maneuver the circular saw. The artist once said “the structure of the bowl is a means by which I can understand almost anything.” She further describes it as a “vessel of emotions.”

The large (12 ft. x 16 ft. x 16 ft.) “Bowl with Folds” has numerous column-like round forms with a hollow interior that is not visible. It is characteristic of von Rydingsvard’s abstract pieces that often evoke common objects and human-like figures and functional objects. The DIA owns one other Rydingsvard sculpture, “Spoon Altar,” which was acquired in 1990.

“Acquisitions like these are not always within our means, have extraordinary artistic value and elevate our collection in significant ways,” said Salort-Pons. “In my time as director, the Wetsmans have been friends and very strong supporters of the work we do. This sculpture is just one of the many examples of their commitment to the DIA, their service to the community and this is a moment to celebrate and thank them.”

"As an admirer of Ursula von Rydingsvard’s work, I’m delighted that Bowl with Folds is coming to the Josephine F. Ford Sculpture Garden on CCS’s campus,” said Richard Rogers, CCS president. “The garden holds a special place in my heart because it honors the College’s greatest benefactor, Josephine Ford, and her relationship to both CCS and the DIA; it inspires our students every day; and it symbolizes the close partnership and interconnected missions of our two institutions. “Bowl with Folds” will be a splendid addition to the garden. I’m grateful to Janis and Bill Wetsman for generously sharing it with the Detroit community."

Von Ryingsvard’s works are included in museum collections around the world. Among the places her commissioned sculptures are installed are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Microsoft Corporation, Washington; Princeton University, New Jersey; Bloomberg Corporation, New York; and Barclays Center, New York.

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