Saturday, September 1, 2012

RNC Diary Part Four: Ligorano & Reese Ice Sculpture

Hurricane Isaac's proximity caused artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese to move up their installation titled "Morning in America" one day at Lykes Gaslight Square Park. It consisted of the words "Middle Class"carved in Ice, on an elevated platform made of long, flat ice blocks. The carving was being done with an electric chain saw. The kind of tool that made police a little nervous on the eve of the RNC Convention. The flying ice shavings cooled the air, but the work was taking longer than anticipated. A police woman conferred with another cop, and they gave a warning, and graciously extended the chainsaw-use deadline. Marshall Reese sweated profusely from the energy required to sculpt the ice.

He had help. A crew of three kept the workflow going smoothly, passersby looked on, a few reporters took notes, video'd and photographed them. This work is a combination of the conceptual, the carving and erection of the installation, which unlike many, is done in real time before viewers, then the slow, anticipated melting. It gains meaning and momentum as it disappears. In the West Tampa Center for The Arts, whose Director, Moira Shiver, helped to bring this work to Tampa, it is referred to as a "temporary monument".  The blocks were heavy and slippery, but the experience of the artist and crew enabled the work to proceed with a certain elegance.

It was literally morning in America, at the axis of the weirdness of a Political Convention. Across from where the sculpting was taking place, there was a large artist's tent with a video camera recording the work. Laboriously, cut by cut, the grooved letters began to take shape.

Ligorano & Reese, "Morning in America"

The following pictures of the melting work were graciously provided by artist Alicia Everett...

Photograph by Alicia Everett

Photograph by Alicia Everett

 Congratulations to Ligorano & Reese [Link], WTCA and Moira Shiver for an installation with a perfect sense of timing and a strong metaphor for our time.

--- Luis


  1. I watched this melt via live stream!!! :-)

  2. Kudos to Ligorano and Reese ... fabulous piece and fabulous artists. It was a pleasure working with them and who knows, 2016 could see another collaboration on the road! You just never know ... ;)

  3. The sculpture is looking very beautiful. I think you have work hard and it is not as simple as anyone think. It displays the perfection of the art and the carving, shapes and the design is really praiseworthy.