"Echo" by Jaume Plensa becomes Sculpture Park's newest attraction — Photo courtesy of Seattle Art Museum, Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, 2013.22, Copyright Jaume Plensa, Photo: Benjamin Benschneider.
The Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park has long been one of the city's most beloved treasures, open 365 days a year and free of charge. Locals and visitors alike flock to this waterside, open-air "museum" that juxtaposes stunning artwork against the natural beauty of the site's surroundings. Now the popular destination is causing even more buzz, with the recent installation of Echo (2011), a 46-foot sculpture by internationally acclaimed artist Jaume Plensa.
One of the world's foremost sculptors working in the public space, Plensa boasts more than 30 projects that span the globe in cities like Chicago, Dubai, London, Liverpool, Tokyo, Toronto and New York. A Spanish artist born in 1955, Plensa has produced a rich body of work over the past 25 years.
By combining conventional sculptural materials (glass, steel, bronze, aluminum) with more unconventional media (water, light, sound, video) – and frequently incorporating text, too – Plensa creates "hybrid works of intricate energy and psychology."
His work Echo has been given to the Seattle Art Museum from the collection of Barney A. Ebsworth. Made from resin, steel and marble dust, the piece was originally commissioned by the Madison Park Association in New York and installed at Madison Square Park in 2011 – to great acclaim.
The Olympic Sculpture Park offers some of the city's loveliest views — Photo courtesy of Seattle Art Museum, Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, 2013.22, Copyright Jaume Plensa, Photo: Benjamin Benschneider.
"Echo will be a spectacular and iconic new addition to the park and Seattle’s waterfront," says Kimerly Rorschach, the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director of SAM. "This is an incredible gift to the city from Barney Ebsworth, and Echo will become a beacon for the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park each year."
The artist modeled Echo based on the nine-year-old daughter of a restaurant owner that he met near his studio in Barcelona. Then, using computer modeling, Plensa elongated and abstracted the girl’s features. The sculpture references Echo, the mountain nymph from Greek mythology.
Although the arrival of Echo is no doubt an alluring new draw for the Olympic Sculpture Park, guests will also want to check out the venue's summer schedule, which includes free concerts (that food trucks show up for) and other festive happenings.
For more information, visit SeattleArtMuseum.org.