One Sun / 34 Moons

Walter de Maria's One Sun, 34 Moons Sculpture

In 2001, Zahner began working with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Steven Holl Architects to provide the various metalwork for the Bloch Building and renovations to the main building.

Zahner was also brought on as fabricator for a site specific art installation by land artist Walter de Maria. The work entitled One Sun / 34 Moons, was completed in 2002 in Kansas City.

The expansive artwork is composed of thirty-four "Moons" which are realized as illuminated glass fixtures scattered throughout the installation. These "Moons" are installed at the bottom of a large reflecting pool in front of the museum's northern staircase. At the artwork's center is a golden "Sun" fabricated by Zahner as a stainless steel structure surfaced with gilded bronze.

Photograph of <em>One Sun / 34 Moons</em>, 2002

One Sun / 34 Moons, by Walter de Maria, 2002. Photo © Tim Dalton.

Detail of The Sun sculpture by Walter de Maria

Detail of the Sun, Walter de Maria. Photo © Tim Dalton.

Fabricator for Walter de Maria's Art: One Sun

The artwork is a collaboration in several ways. The science of the surface can be seen with the gilded bronze leaf application developed by Walter de Maria's often tapped partners American Burnish in New York. The vision of Steven Holl can be seen in how the "Moons" provide natural lighting for the parking garage underneath. Zahner's expertise can be seen as both the massive engineered form as well as the long-term performance of the architectural metal as art.

Walter de Maria wanted a golden color that would appear bright in almost any light, direction, or shadow. Zahner's team worked with the artist on various color options, and the textured gilded bronze surface was selected as the best option to meet these constraints.

In creating the form of the "Sun", Zahner was able to apply engineering and fabrication expertise as well as an unparalleled understanding of metallurgy.

Selecting and specifying the construction materials for performance and durability required careful consideration of the engineered details, galvanic corrosion, and pH levels for the reflecting pool and water feature design to prevent moisture from deteriorating the surface.

Steven Holl & the Use of Light: 34 Moons

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Walter de Maria's sculpture is the way that it integrates into the greater architectural vision of Steven Holl & Chris McVoy. Each of the "34 Moons" are actually part of a skylight design used to provide natural light to the parking structure below the surface of the park.

The light temperature of the neon illumination matches that of the moon; the architects' use of both natural and electric light innovates and plays perfectly into Walter de Maria's vision of the moon in an almost literal sense.

Detail of the moons, lined with neon

Detail of the moons, lined with neon. Photo © Tim Dalton.

Photograph of the Walter de Maria artwork at dusk

Photograph of the Walter de Maria artwork at dusk.
Photo courtesy Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

Natural light flows down from the <em>Moons</em> of the Walter de Maria artwork

Natural light flows down from the Moons of the Walter de Maria artwork.
Photo © Jennifer Wetzel.

Detail of the gilded leaf, Nelson-Atkins, Kansas City

Detail of the gilded leaf, Nelson-Atkins, Kansas City.
Photo © Tim Dalton.

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