Official Press Release

May 19, 2014


NETAPP INSTALLS MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE FOR CITY OF SUNNYVALE

 

Soaring 25 feet into the Sunnyvale sky, Double Diver by New York sculptor Carole A. Feuerman is the latest art installation for the citizens of Sunnyvale. It is a sight to behold! 

The gravity-defying bronze sculpture is both a remarkable artwork and an incredible feat of engineering. Composed of two monumental divers connected at a tenuous junction (the top figure rests its hands around the ankles of the lower diver) the sculpture’s dynamic “S” curve is revealed from its dramatic side views.  The form is a perfect example of what eighteenth-century art theorist William Hogarth called 'the line of beauty': that curving serpentine silhouette found in all things naturally beautiful. Within the bronze is a substantial stainless steel matrix that anchors the 2 1/2 tons of bronze. But for the viewer, the mystery remains of how the huge, graceful piece stands on the two six inch wrists and hands of the lower figure.

Carole A. Feuerman is recognized worldwide for her unparalleled sculpting of the human form and has received international recognition for her art in public places. Her prolific career spans four decades with works included in public, museum, and private collections around the world. She has received international recognition for her sculpture, such as first prizes at the Austrian Biennale and the Florence Biennale, Best in Show at the Beijing Biennale as well as at the 2008 Olympic Games. Feuerman has been the subject of six museum retrospectives to date and her fourth monograph, Carole Feuerman: Swimmers has just been published by the Artist Book Foundation and includes a four-page spread of Double Diver

Double Diver was commissioned by NetApp through Sculpturesite Gallery in Sonoma, California. NetApp is a FORTUNE 500 technology company that delivers software, systems and services used by global organizations to store and manage their business data. NetApp is a significant employer and landowner of 1.7 million square feet in Sunnyvale, California. The City of Sunnyvale’s “Art in Private Development” program requires developers in Sunnyvale to invest 1% of their development costs in public art. The sculpture is symbolic of the company’s commitment to the city and of its values. 

NetApp is consistently recognized as one of the best companies to work for both in the U.S. and internationally by FORTUNE magazine and Great Place to Work, respectively. The company decided to commission this significant work by an important contemporary artist that would best illustrate the company’s culture of teamwork, trust, adaptability, and integrity. The magnificent sculpture was installed at the NetApp headquarters in Sunnyvale, California on April 10th. It is located prominently in front of Building 9 on the corner of Crossman Avenue and East Caribbean Drive where it’s highly visible to the public.

Elisabeth Arslaner, senior director of Workplace Resources at NetApp, was instrumental in commissioning Double Diver as part of the city’s “Art in Private Development” program. “We are honored to dedicate this monumental piece by internationally renowned artist Carole Feuerman to City of Sunnyvale. NetApp is committed to enriching the communities in which our employees and neighbors live and work. Double Diver is evocative of our culture and our partnership with the City of Sunnyvale,” said Arslaner. 

Most corporate public art tends to be abstract and often in a neutral finish. But NetApp executives wanted the bold vertical sculpture to be figurative and finished in an intricate organic pattern with iridescent blue and gold coloration, which reference the rich and diverse culture at NetApp. The sculpture is so unique that new methodologies had to be invented to realize it. It is truly the first of its kind both technically and artistically. For example, achieving the textural quality of the surface of the work that juxtaposes the intense blue with a golden bronze was a challenge, and a unique process had to be devised. It was Feuerman’s sand cast bronze series Painting with Fire, in which the artist pours molten bronze into sand molds, that inspired this commission, but the engineers warned that it was not possible to extend that process to such a monumental scale since the final weight of the piece would be unpredictable and more than 2 1/2 tons. Instead, the artist poured wax into long overlapping ribbon shapes and created thousands of individual organic drips to be cast and welded onto the bronze sculpture.

The most up-to-date technologies in sculpting and finishing were employed both at the artist’s studio in New York City and by Bollinger Atelier, the state-of-the-art foundry facility in Tempe, Arizona where the bronze was produced. The use of these leading technologies is fitting given that NetApp is a company that continually pushes the boundaries of what’s possible by delivering innovative products and solutions to their customers and partners around the world. 

Carole Feuerman was enthusiastic about the Double Diver commission from the beginning. “This is my first public piece in Silicon Valley. I loved working for a tech giant! The sculpture really helped me push the boundaries of what I can do. I think this is the most important artwork I have created in my career!” 

Double Diver began five years ago with Feuerman and her team working with a live model in her New York City studio. The challenging task of sculpting a handsome athlete upside down in a handstand was caught on a fascinating video. “My work doesn’t just mimic what the human body can do,” Feuerman states, “I want to take the sculpture to another level because you can cast a person, but the final piece must say something and must become art.” Once sculpted, a rubber mold was made, and the forms that were taken from the rubber were then enlarged digitally. Feuerman is just as comfortable with the age-old processes that are used in bronze casting as she is with the latest technologies that artists utilize to create 3D forms digitally. Yet she does not take shortcuts: each section of the enlargement was painstakingly hand-sculpted with the smallest details because these forms were to be used in casting at the foundry. After the original forms were received by Bollinger Atelier, the owner, Tom Bollinger, and his team worked closely with Feuerman to devise the series of unique processes that would make Double Diver possible. Feuerman made seven separate trips to Arizona from New York City to work with the foundry staff. “I loved working with Tom Bollinger and his team. They really did the impossible to help me create Double Diver!”

Sculpturesite Gallery’s owner Brigitte Micmacker was personally involved in all stages of the commissioning process through the concept, fabrication and installation. Micmacker’s gallery has focused entirely on sculpture for 24 years and represents 75 regional, national, and international sculptors. It is her expertise in sourcing and managing sculpture projects that helped Sculpturesite land this commission. 

“This was an exceptionally interesting project for me. I hope that the other giants of Silicon Valley will follow suit,” says Micmacker. “The tech industry is not especially known for patronizing public art, but the effects that an exceptional public sculpture can have on viewers are remarkable, and the trend seems to be for tech companies to want to give back to their employees and their communities. I think this piece may inspire more such art bridges between the tech giants and their communities”.

When Double Diver was erected upon its stepped stainless steel base on April 10th, its silhouette immediately took over the site. When the sun came through the morning fog and the sculpture was unwrapped, the stunning bronze surface colors and the exquisite details of the work were revealed for all to enjoy for many years to come. 


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