1,662,528 knots, 180 miles of twine, 424’ long, and 72’ high. A red, magenta, and violet glowing sculpture of net virtually hovering over the lawn at the revamped St. Petersburg Pier. Puckered, irregular, and complex, Bending Arc by Janet Echelman has to be experienced at every angle to be appreciated.
A St. Pete native and Boston resident, Echleman has made her career out of flying massive fiber artwork high above major cities throughout the world. During the day, her works resemble an oddly designed circus safety net. At night, colored lights transform them into something otherworldly.
A Harvard graduate who wanted to pursue a career in art eventually ended up in Bali, where she learned traditional textile methods. She also traveled to India as a Fulbright Scholar, where, while waiting on the shipment of a solo painting exhibition that never arrived, she again began working with local textile materials. After some trial and error, she joined in collaboration with local fishermen, sculpting nets and hoisting them onto poles. The rest is beautiful history.
Bending Arc At The St. Pete Pier
The best time to get to arrive at the pier is just around sunset. You’ll be able to view Bending Arc before the lights come on to see its original blue colors. Slowly, the surrounding trees will be illuminated by the colored lights mounted on poles that encircle the sculpture. As the sky gets darker, the work begins to glow, and the stripes and geometric forms smolder in pink, purple, and red. Take time to walk all the way around the work, taking it in from every vantage point. Each curve on netting deserves consideration.
The St. Pete Pier hosts a variety of amenities, so look them up before you make your trip. There are several restaurants, pop-up shops, beach-front areas, snack bars, and plenty of green area to explore. Don’t miss it and be sure to keep it locked with The Culture Curators for more from the art department coming soon!
Photos via Pamela Zeljak