San Francisco Art@Site George Rickey Double L Excentric Gyratory

George Rickey


Double L Excentric Gyratory

Civic Center
Cheerful performance
A L is one of the most abstract letters: it has a horizontal and a vertical. It' is a static character. In typografic terms, it stands firmly on it’s hull and carries a simple straight flag.
You don't expect that it's going to move. And this is exatly what George Rickey does with Double L Excentric Gyratory. It may happen that’s standing still during the encounter, that it’s suddenly moving and might even speed things up. Two giant letters may sway dangerously near the pavement. Sometimes together, at times in a rhythm one after the other.
Why did George Rickey choose for two letters L? It is stange because a L seems a form which doesn’t want to make contact. This feels different from an E, who is longing for contact with it’s horizontals. Now you see two solitisic characters who are moving sometimes alone and sometimes together.
An artwork is often serious. Double L Excentric Gyratory is happy. George Rickey has made a dynamic performance with these two abstract, static and solitary characters.
By Theo,

Vrolijke performance
Een L is één van de meest abstracte letters: het heeft een horizontale en een verticale. Het is een statische letter. In typografische termen: het staat stevig op de romp en draagt een simpele rechte vlag.
Je verwacht niet dat het gaat bewegen. En dit is nu precies wat George Rickey doet met Double L Excentric Gyratory. Het kan gebeuren dat het stilstaat bij de ontmoeting, dat het daarna ineens gaat bewegen en misschien zelfs gaat versnellen. De reusachtige letters kunnen zelfs gevaarlijk zwaaien dichtbij de straat. Soms tegelijk, soms in een ritme na elkaar.
Waarom heeft George Rickey voor twee letters L gekozen? Het is vreemd omdat een L een vorm is die geen contact lijkt te maken. Dit voelt anders dan een E, die verlangt naar contact met zijn horizontalen. Nu zie je twee solistische letters die soms alleen en soms tezamen bewegen.
Een kunstwerk is vaak ernstig. Double L Excentric Gyratory is vrolijk. George Rickey heeft met deze twee abstracte, statische en eenzame letters een dynamische performance gemaakt.
By Theo,
George Warren Rickey (June 6, 1907 – July 17, 2002) was an American kinetic sculptor.
his first sculpture was shown in New York in 1951 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art group show American Sculpture 1951. The Museum of Modern Art, in New York purchased his seminal Two Lines Temporal I, after Alfred Barr, MOMA's then Director, had seen it at the exhibition Documenta III in Kassel, Germany.
In 1985, George Rickey had a major retrospective in South Bend, Indiana, the place of his birth. His sculptures were installed outside (and inside) of the South Bend Art Center, and also at the Snite Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Rickey gave a presentation of his work at the Snite. One of the stories he told concerned how, as a result of a World War II-era, government-administered aptitude test, he was assigned to design machine gun turrets for bombers. It was in this job that he became familiar with the high-quality ball bearings, balancing weights, riveted sheet metal, lightweight aircraft construction techniques, and modern hardware (and the vendors for same) that were to become the mechanical foundation for his later forays into lightweight, delicately balanced, wind-activated kinetic sculpture.
As one of the world’s foremost kinetic sculptors, sharing much in common with Calder and Tinguely, Rickey emerges as a unique and powerful presence in his own right by focusing on "movement as means." Less interested in the form of his sculptures than in the patterns of their movement, he also eschews motorized mechanization. His theoretical writings regarding kinetic sculpture combine a unique sensitivity to the forces that define the world with an especially well-developed talent for analytical insight.
During World War II, Rickey was drafted into the Army Air Corps."It was an event that dramatically altered the course of my life." he recalls. In the Army, Rickey discovered his latent technical prowess while maintaining computing instruments for gun-control turrets in B-29 bombers. Besides mechanical skill, this task required an understanding of the effects of wind and gravity in ballistics, skills that he would rely upon as he switched from painting to kinetic sculpture. Following his discharge from the Army, Rickey pursued additional training in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and later the Institute of Design in Chicago.
Articulation of motion fascinates and compels Rickey, a motion that is akin to the functioning of nature, yet apart from it. This motion is not motor-driven but relies instead on gravity and principles of physics: equilibrium and momentum. His exquisitely engineered steel sculpture—straight-edged, geometric, and regular—responds to wind and the pull of gravity through counterweights and bearings. Rickey often employs the compound pendulum to control and lengthen the movement of his geometric forms. Rickey weights the tapering arms of his sculptures internally with lead, so that he positions the point of balance where he chooses, thereby controlling the momentum. The movement is slow, smooth, and unpredictable, evoking a mesmerizing quality of repetition and variation that captivates the viewer; like ocean waves, Rickey’s work responds to the same natural laws of motion and captivates the viewer with the same mesmerizing quality of repetition and variation.