Conversation Peace: Discover Midtown’s New Sculpture
By Kevin Box, Artist at Box Studio LLC
Note: Conversation Peace by Kevin Box has been installed at 10e and Peachtree Streets on November 11, 2021. This is the latest in Midtown Alliance’s series of temporary public art installations to occupy this corner. Midtown is home to over 40 public art installations in a 1.2 square mile area.
Having spent summers visiting family in Georgia as a child, it’s thrilling to see my work appear so prominently on Peachtree Street. Midtown is known to many as the epicenter of art and culture in Atlanta, and I’m delighted that Peace Conversation was selected to be part of the pedestrian experience of this lively district.
As I have developed my practice over the past 20 years, I aspired to go beyond museums, galleries, and fine art patrons to reach a wider audience through art. public. On Ten years ago, during a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, my wife, Jennifer, and I shared an eye opener. We could present my work in the natural setting of botanical gardens and reach entire communities, including school children and families, who are comfortable with experiencing outdoor art. And so, the Origami in the garden The exhibition was born and was presented in gardens across the country. It will be here at the start of the Atlanta Botanical Garden From May 7 to October 30, 2022.
The sculpture selected by the Midtown Alliance as the focal point for the Midtown Arts District is inspired by the rock-paper-scissors game. We all know this zero-sum game as a fun way to solve a light conflict – who can sit in the front seat or who gets the last piece of cake. But serious conflict requires conversation so that the conflicting parties can understand each other better. Conversation is as much about listening as it is saying what you are thinking, and compromise is often involved in a balanced solution. As an artist, I use sculptural objects to symbolize conflicting forces that have found a balance.
Peace Conversation is also a play on the phrase “conversation piece,” which means a work of art or other interesting object that inspires conversation. In this sculpture, the combination of stone, paper and scissors represents this kind of object. It’s a familiar group but with a surprising origami twist: the paper beat the boulder and the scissors, folding into a peace crane and flying just out of reach. Through thoughtful and respectful transformation, peace won. A timeless message that seems particularly timely now.
Origami has been a constant theme in my work. He’s wonderfully accessible in his humble origins – almost anyone, regardless of age, can pick up a piece of paper and learn to fold something. Yet, in the most skilled hands, incredibly complex shapes can be created that are impressive and remarkably out of reach. For me, origami represents a Zen philosophical approach echoing many mystical traditions that speak of discipline, practice, mastery and magic, turning lead into gold, “seeing the light” and all that is possible when we dedicate ourselves. The fact that so much can be said with just one square of uncut paper can, and probably will, keep my creative mind occupied for a lifetime.
Peace Conversation will be on view in Midtown at the south end of 10e Street Park until summer 2023.