Thursday, August 27, 2009

Surface Tension - Andy Goldsworthy in California Wine Country

Andy Goldsworthy - Hess Museum
Surface Tension
Rock Pools ... kiln melted stones on floor
Snow Ball Drawings ... shown on walls

Surface Tension
10 x 16 ft. - On permanent display at the Hess Art Museum - Hess Collection Winery - Mount Veeder, Napa Valley. (Installation photos above: Courtesy Hess Art Museum )

Assembled by Goldsworthy in 14 hours

'Leaf stalks from a Horse Chestnut wetted and then pinned
with Hawthorn thorns.

Thorns hold entire piece to wall, ceiling and floor.
No glue or hardware.'


  1. So beautiful! Wish I were there to see it. Have you seen "Roof" at the National Gallery? The oppposite of this ethereal piece - solid, nearly-closed, slate domes that pierce through the glass gallery wall. I love his work. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very creative art and very interesting. I have a fear that the components may fall off.

  3. Those stones remind me of chocolate cookies! Love Andy Goldsworthy's work

  4. I missed viewing the Hess collection the last time that I was up in Napa.
    Now I have a reason to make a dedicated trip.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    I once saw a show similar to Goldsworthy's "chocolate cookie" piece at the Tate Museum in London. The clay like cookies were made from some fabulous deep cobalt blue pigment and as the cookies crumbled you could see little volcanic bursts of blue dust floating into the air.

    Probably not so healthful for ones lungs, but it sure was innovative and a sight to behold.

  5. What amazing work. Seeing things like this is one of the many reasons we love your blog. Sarah and I hope you will accept a Meme Award from us. Please visit us at to receive it.

  6. Barbara, Have not seen Roof, but will most definitely remember to do so the next time I'm in London. Dollar/pound- hope the exchange rate improves one of these days!
    Appreciate hearing about this work at the National Gallery.

    Autumn Belle, I'm told that it is not as fragile as it appears to be. An aspect that makes it all the more interesting, don't you think?

    Claire, The weighty presence of the stones provides a provocative contrast to 'Surface Tension.' His work touches people on so many levels, extending to chocolate cookies!

    DD, Oh yes, do I wish I had seen that show at the Tate! The image you present is enthralling. (Tate Modern is one of the reasons I visit London.)
    It is surprising that AG was allowed to do something with cobalt pigment dust. As you indicate, it is toxic to inhale, if memories of my time working in clay are accurate. How fortunate that you were there when the exhibition was up.

    Bangchik, AG's creativity seems boundless.

    Phoenix C, We should form a fan club...! Then again, most likely there is a worldwide organization that follows AG's work.

  7. I love Andy Goldsworthy. These photos are great. I left you a meme award on my blog! :)

  8. Wendy, You doll! Look for my comment on your 'greenish thumb.'

    Helen, Your comment came in while I was replying to earlier comments.

    Look what we have here... I've been memed simultaneously by you and Wendy!

    Now how does this work? I'm proud as a peahen!!

  9. The screen made of branches is stunning. We had a show of his in town a while back and it had a similar piece. I had to get my face close to it to look at how it was put together, so close that the museum guards kept telling me to step back from the artwork. I love how even the joinery is made from natural materials.

  10. James,
    Stunning is right. I was stunned in the fullest sense of the word when I walked into the room and first saw the work. To stand in front of it is to be transfixed by the concept, and the beauty of it. In this case, there is a rope so you can't see the joinery up-close.
    It may be based upon the piece you saw previously, the difference being that 'Surface Tension' is installed on permanent exhibition.

  11. Great stuff. I saw Surface tension at the Yorkshire Sculpture park a couple of years ago. Looks wonderful.
    I wrote about it here ( if you have a moment)

  12. Thanks for the link, James The Hat,
    I am off now... to read it!