New sculpture finds a home in Los Alamos

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By Jennifer Garcia

 If you've driven by the Hilltop Hotel recently, you may have noticed a new addition to the median between Trinity Drive and Central Avenue.

The object in question stands about 18-feet-high and is made of aluminum and sports a purple and blue paint job.

The sculpture titled “Nexus” was installed at its current location on Sept. 3 and was created by Lyle London of Art in Metal, based in Tempe, Ariz.

The installation of “Nexus” was a long time coming, since the County Council approved the purchase and installation of the sculpture at a Dec. 6, 2005, Council meeting.

The approval was based on a recommendation they received from the Art in Public Places Board. Stephani Johnson, board liaison, said that the Board actually began discussion regarding the purchase of a new piece for the county collection in the fall of 2003.

At that time, Board Member Min Park was appointed to chair an ad hoc subcommittee to explore options for such a purchase.

The subcommittee created a list of criteria to help guide the selection of the new purchase, which included content, style, and material and artist selection. Johnson said that the Board decided to look for forms of art, which relate to the history and/or culture of Los Alamos. Since one of the goals of the board is to achieve a balance in the collection, the board decided to focus on a selection of abstract art, since 11 of the 15 outdoor sculptures the county had in its collections are realistic in nature.

The board also gave consideration to the materials that would be used to construct the sculpture. They were looking for material that would be durable and low maintenance.

Johnson said the board utilized a search process that included consideration of regional artists, as well as artists represented by state art agencies and commercial galleries.

The subcommittee brought forward information from over 15 artists. The board narrowed that list down to three and after further inquiry, unanimously approved Lyle London's “Nexus.”

The installation of “Nexus” had been postponed because the Highway Department of Transportation had planned to do construction near Entry Way Park, which was to include the intersection realignment.

The council was concerned that if the sculpture were installed prior to the construction, it would have to be taken out and stored until the project was finished. As a result, it went back to council for reconsideration after it was originally approved. Because of funding considerations, the DOT project did not go as planned.

According to a press release, London is a 1969 cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and has studied with sculptor Varujan Boghosian, as well as various visiting artists at Dartmouth College in the late ’60s. Jack Zajac's style of biomorphic abstraction has had a lasting influence on his work.

After several years of carving stone and practical experience in the art bronze foundry, he began working primarily in metal. He is the owner of Art in Metal USA LLC, a custom design and fabrication firm with 15 employees.

His business specializes in fine art fabrication of both his own, and other artists' work.