Friday, May 9, 2008

Art in the Periodicals Reading Room

Did you know you can go up to the sixth floor of the library by taking the spiral staircase in the Periodicals Reading Room of the Magazines & Newspapers Center? This staircase, part of an art piece designed by Alice Aycock, was unveiled in 1996 at the opening of the New Main Library.

Excerpted from Art Works of the Main Library

Functional and Fantasy Stair and Cyclone Fragment

Artist: Alice Aycock

"Alice Aycock has designed a spiral stairway between the fifth and sixth floors of the suspended, glass-enclosed reading room that projects into the library's great atrium space. The staircase wraps around a cone tipped at an angle, and as the two-story cone appears to unravel, it sheds fragments of false or imaginary stairs. The conical composition echoes the structure of a nearby atrium skylight. The cone, in fact, is an inversion of the skylight.

A second element, the Cyclone fragment, is suspended in the adjacent atrium and functions as a ghost projection of the spiral stair. If the stairs suggest knowledge unfolding, the Cyclone symbolizes knowledge in its most dynamic and transitional state. For the artist, her work in the library is the culmination of years of ongoing dialogue with the architect James Ingo Freed."

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