Kinetic Sculpture at Logan Airport, Boston?
May 19, 2005 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Looking for the name of the sculptor who made 2 kinetic pieces that used to be in (I think 2) areas at Logan Airport. Maybe United Airlines area? Balls 2 or 3 " in diameter rolled along troughs, tripped levers, were carried up escalators, etc. etc. Haven't seen them in years , but I would love more information about them and him.
posted by judybxxx to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is this the guy?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:37 AM on May 19, 2005

George Rhoads did the one in the Boston Museum of Science. I always thought the Logan one was by the same person.
According to this site it was.
posted by FreezBoy at 7:38 AM on May 19, 2005

I remember when I lived in NYC in the 80s there was something of this sort in the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
posted by matildaben at 7:41 AM on May 19, 2005

Rolling ball sculptures.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 7:52 AM on May 19, 2005

It's still there, matildaben.
posted by hsoltz at 7:55 AM on May 19, 2005

Sure looks like it was George Rhoads - after I posted I googled (sorry, i didn't think I knew what to search for) and found something currently at Logan at what they call artport (see Artport) but it looks different from what I remember.
Anyway, it's great to find out about all his work. Thanks, everyone . I'm off to the airport!(truly)
posted by judybxxx at 10:09 AM on May 19, 2005

I was in Logan Int'l 2 days ago, and I can indeed confirm it was Rhoads. The one in Logan Int'l was originally in the Boston Museum of Science, as far as my Massachusetts born and bred companion knows.

On Preview, I type too slow.
posted by carabiner at 10:46 AM on May 19, 2005

There's a big one of these sculptures (don't know who it's by, but most likely the same guy) outside the Tech Museum in San Jose CA.
posted by anadem at 10:54 AM on May 19, 2005

Thanks for posting that last link, judybxxx. I remember those sculptures from when I lived in Boston (over 15 years ago), and they were the coolest thing ever. It's good to see a picture of them again. I remember waiting for the ball to get to the place where it dropped and bounced off the little trampoline.
posted by anapestic at 11:48 AM on May 19, 2005

Thirded on Rhoads - he's still alive, and lives in Ithaca NY.
I saw him give a talk once, and he was quite funny.

(Not that I remember his jokes, mind. But I do like anyone whose idea of art is play.)
posted by metaculpa at 1:20 PM on May 19, 2005

Oh! And I once picked up a girl in front of that sculpture. At 17, my oh my...
posted by metaculpa at 1:21 PM on May 19, 2005

Yep, the one outside The Tech is also Rock Stream Studios -- and it's not really just one guy, they have a whole team. I toured their workshop a few years back.
posted by trevyn at 2:25 PM on May 19, 2005

The Children's Discovery Museum in Acton, MA has one that the kids load the balls in, to start the action. Don't know who built it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:40 PM on May 19, 2005

Late to the game with the twenty-sixth vote for Rhoads. Here's a pretty good resume like page for George Rhoads. Here's his own page with Bio, Works, and other sections (including a photo of him with the great Fred Rogers.). This page lists two rolling ball sculptures by George Rhoads at Logan. One called Exercise in Frugality and one called Goldberg Variations, both listed as being in Terminal C. Both works seem to make musical notes using such things as bells, wind chimes and xylophone parts.

Also, there's a partial listing and chronology of similar works called "Gravitrams" here. (Gravitrams might be a specialized name for these things because Rhoads works aren't listed on this particular page.)

Just a small Rose City shoutout: we have (or used to have) one of these Gravitrams in Portland at OMSI. Ours created by Shabtay Levy and George Hohnstein. Man, you could watch that thing forever.
posted by blueberry at 1:28 AM on May 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I adore these sculptures. I have a life-long fascination with balls rolling around. Pool & bowling fascinate me to this day (both the action and the sound). Love music with samples of billiard balls colliding!

So its no surprise that I am also the proud owner of K'Nex construction toy, "Bill Ball Factory". Some what the same concept but with plastic balls.
posted by Goofyy at 1:55 AM on May 20, 2005

Jean Tinguely is the master of them all.
posted by Dick Paris at 5:06 AM on May 20, 2005

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