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Scaling and scale models

This example begins a thread on scaling and scale models.

A good general discussion of scale models is Ian Gibson, Thomas Kvan, and Ling Wai Ming, "Rapid prototyping for archtectural models," pdf.

Here are pictures of our scale model for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, at a scale of 1/4 inch = 1 foot, or 1/48th size. The purpose of the model is to prepare for my upcoming sculpture show at the Aldrich. We also made sculptures and human figures at 1:48. This set of pictures shows the pieces Rocket Science, Zerlina's Smile, and 2 sizes of Tong Bird of Paradise (10 feet and 20 feet tall or 2.5 inches and 5 inches in scale) placed on the model.

Here are studies of sculpture placement near the Aldrich buildings (our plans for the 1.5 acre Aldrich Sculpture garden are still in progress).

The scale model is on a fairly high table. I then roll around the model on a low chair so that my view of the model simulates the view of a museum visitor. Everyone seems to enjoy the model and especially all the little scaled sculptures that we usually see 48 times larger.

The model shows shadows over time. Our sun shadow is not all that different from the Aldrich sun shadow. The model is correctly oriented NSEW and is located only 35 miles away from the Aldrich:

                                                  model location   41.49N,  -72.91W
                                                  Aldrich location 41.25N,  -73.49W

So far I've learned that the abrupt contours shown in scale models are contrary to the land, visually noisy, and sometimes are alas the strongest visual element in the scene. Maybe we'll drape some grass-colored light paper over the abrupt foam contours. I also learned that scale models should be checked for errors and omissions.

For the sculpture show, it appears that Zerlina's Smile will cast good shadows on the museum building, that Rocket Science should be moved away from its planned position, and that it is great fun to move the little pieces around the little buildings and grounds.

Below, images of the real museum:

-- Edward Tufte

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum: ET show

Over the years, I have had shows at Artists Space in New York and the Architecture+Design Museum in Los Angeles. In both cases, I exhibited about 20 prints and a few sculpture pieces.

Now the Aldrich Contemporary Art Musuem has invited me to create a major show for 2009-2010. I will have lots of space, including the museum's 1.5 acre sculpture garden for ten months. I'm delighted for this inspiring opportunity.

Here are the dates:

Opening reception: Sunday June 21, 2009, 3.00-5.00pm.

Exhibits in the galleries and on the Main Street frontage: June 21, 2009 to August 30, 2009.

Exhibits in the Aldrich Sculpture Garden: June 21, 2009 to April, 2010.

Here's a description of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, from their website:

The Aldrich is one of the few non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States. Founded on Ridgefield's historic Main Street in 1964, the Museum enjoys the curatorial independence of an alternative space while maintaining the registrarial and art- handling standards of a national institution. Exhibitions feature work by emerging and mid- career artists, and education programs help adults and children to connect to today's world through contemporary art. The Museum is located at 258 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877. For more information call 203.438.4519.

The eighteenth-century "Old Hundred" building appealed to Mr. Aldrich because of its high-ceiling rooms and the extensive backyard that would be suitable for the year-round sculpture garden he envisioned. The Larry Aldrich Museum was incorporated as a nonprofit and opened in November 1964 as one of the country's first museums devoted exclusively to the exhibition of contemporary art.

In 1967, the Museum was renamed The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, with an original Board of Trustees that included Alfred Barr, Joseph Hirshhorn, Philip Johnson, and Vera List. Foremost in Mr. Aldrich's vision was that the Museum should make contemporary art accessible to a variety of audiences. Over the course of its forty-year history, The Aldrich has become renowned as a national leader for its presentation of outstanding new art, the cultivation of emerging artists, and its innovation in museum education.

-- Edward Tufte

Scale model of Aldrich Museum

We draped cloth over the model's land to calm down its sharp-edged foam contours. Three pieces are positioned on the museum model: Larkin's Twig, Hogpen Hill #1, and Rocket Science.

-- Edward Tufte

Hyping the size and appearance an object by photo editing

Here are photographs from Sotheby's (Paris) Escalier de la Tour Eiffel,
a brochure pitching the auction of a section of the original Eiffel Tower staircase.
How tall is the object for sale?

Note also the auctioneer's designer application of metallic silver ink in the first few photographs
which contradicts the military gray versions of the staircase in the later photographs.
The metallic silverized photographs present an object that could never be actually seen
as such.

The height of the staircase section for sale is in fact 270 cm (107 in).
The catalog shows several photographs with objects of known size
in the scene (brick wall, overstuffed chair)--but these photographs
fail to show the top end of the piece, a move which visually
suggests that the staircase continues right on up to the sky.

Should there be a class in graphic design ethics in college programs
teaching commercial art?

-- Edward Tufte

Another try at museum sculpture arrangement

Below, there's a new possible siting of sculptures near the Aldrich Museum building.
This assumes we make a big version of the Porta dog sculpture. Between the stainless steel
Escaping Flatlands and the dog sculpture there's also a faint image of the Larkin's Twig model.

Escaping Flatland

Porta, the Dog


Untitled new piece,
under construction

-- Edward Tufte

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