We Are Losing Our Ozone

Larry Kagan (b. 1946)
Date: 1989
Dimensions: 31 3/4 H x 34 1/8 W x 2 D
Materials: Steel

Signed, upper right: L K

Credit: Gift of Georgina H. Williams via the Contemporary Art Collections Fund
Accession Number: 1992.17.4

Discarded scraps of steel are transformed by the artist into illusionistic images that are accessible yet also challenging to the mind and eye. Larry Kagan is showing us a large ozone-bearing cloud rising from the Earth, destroying the atmosphere, which disintegrates chaotically into space. Kagan wants to preserve the "personality" of his materials, so he alters them as little as possible, leaving the mottled grays and rusts of the steel's surface intact, and bending the pieces only when necessary. He describes his method as "drawing directly with steel" until the pieces "come together like they belong together." This is his only work dealing directly with the ozone, but other Kagan sculptures reflect on issues of ecology, crumbling infrastructure, and pollution.