Marsha Mateyka Gallery
Press Release, November 2009
Athena Tacha: Recent Public Artworks
Athena Tacha, a renowned artist who has executed over 40 public, site specific artworks throughout the United States, has just completed a major project here in Friendship Heights, MD. At “Wisconsin Place” a five acre development framed by Western, Wisconsin and Willard Avenues, on the border of Washington DC, she has created four large public art works:
* A 35 foot “WWW-Tower” beacons with LEDs at the Willard Avenue entrance
* An animated LED/RGB arcade ceiling sculpture, “Light Riggings”, forms a light avenue connecting the office and condominium towers to the plaza
* "Light Obelisk” and fountain on "Friendship Plaza" at the Western Avenue entrance complete the light avenue. The plaza’s pavement designed by Tacha, inspired by Michelangelo’s Campidoglio piazza in Rome, spills out from the fountain like a huge flower with 24 “petals”, six of which become planters with stone benches. Athena Tacha has said, “I wanted a design that gave identity to the place and invited people in, ... conveying a sense of urban activity.”
In addition to “Wisconsin Place,” Athena Tacha has created two other site specific works in the Washington, DC metropolitan area:
* “Hearts Beat”, a 300-foot long sky bridge ceiling linking Grosvenor Metro Station with the Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, MD, opened in 2004. The LED/RGB lights covering the ceiling are programmed to pulsate and change colors at different rhythms -- the male and female heart beats.
*“STOP and GO” at Metro’s Morgan Boulevard subway station, Prince Georges County, MD was finished in 2005. The entire plaza, which is dedicated to Garrett Augustus Morgan, the inventor of the first mechanical traffic crossing sign, is designed by the artist as an environmental work evoking the Metro system, with 5-color curved concrete paths. At their crossings, 5 poles with red and green LED signs blink STOP and GO.
A tour of all of these site specific works can be easily accomplished by using Metro rail, since each is located at a subway stop.
Concurrent with these projects in the Washington area, Athena Tacha has also recently completed a major commission for the Muhammed Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The design for the three level plaza responded to Ali’s desire to create a Mogul style garden with a gentle waterfall trickling down to a grand fountain, symbolic of his modest origins and later glorious career. Athena Tacha designed the glass waterfall on the upper level of the plaza and, on the main level, a sculptural amphitheater titled “Dancing Steps” for Ali’s boxing style. A water runnel cascades down through the steps to a large “Star Fountain” containing 48 glass columns that are illuminated at night by animated LED/RGBs.
In addition to her many public commissions, Athena Tacha is also very active with private studio work. Her photoworks, drawings and small scale sculptures have been shown in solo exhibitions in Washington DC at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery and The Katzen Center, American University. A retrospective of 40 years of her work entitled “Athena Tacha: From Public to Private” is currently being organized by the State Museum of Modern Art, Thessaloniki, Greece where it will be on view early next year (January 16 -- March 30, 2010) before traveling.
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Wisconsin Place | Muhammad Ali Plaza | Philadelphia