Jeffrey Augustine Songco's avatar Jeffrey Augustine Songco

‘Revelry' is a large-scale, site-specific, outdoor installation about a journey through space and color, the traditions of ArtPrize, and the controversial identity of public art. On one end of the piece, you have a bare, metal chain-link fence that references a construction zone or disaster site. As you travel along the fence away from Alexander Calder's 'La Grande Vitesse' and down a narrow space between two government buildings, silver beads begin to appear, then colored beads, and then finally the chaos of color resolves itself in an ordered spectrum of a rainbow, or simply a place of truth and beauty that is welcoming to all people. When you put a work of art in a public space and say, “this is for everyone,” you’re going to get a spectrum of feedback – some people will love it and some people will hate it much like the initial reception of 'La Grande Vitesse' in 1969. 'Revelry' physically represents that line or border between these opposing views (good art vs. bad art, public vote vs. jury award, figurative vs. abstract, etc.), and it’s at this line where really exciting conversations and debate can and do happen. So let’s celebrate those conversations by honoring the fence with beads. In fact, let’s make this a new tradition. Traditions are an important part of any holiday because they signal a special time for celebration and a shared experience, like decorating a Christmas tree in December, dyeing eggs for Easter, or throwing parties on Super Bowl Sunday. ArtPrize itself is one giant holiday, but because it’s so young, there aren’t very many traditions yet. I want my entry to encourage a new tradition at ArtPrize – I want people to throw parties, buy beads, and exchange them with each other for conversations about art. Rooted in a lineage of American sculpture and installation, 'Revelry' continues a tradition of play with modern materials. From Calder’s theatrical circus and open-air wirework, to Richard Serra’s 'Tilted Arc', to Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s intimate beaded curtains, 'Revelry' speaks to ideas of time, space, color, devastation, perseverance, humor, and love. Though 'Revelry' was intended to last the duration of the 19-day event, the sparkling shiny beads remained on the fence for only four days. At Noon on the fourth day of ArtPrize, the public disregarded the signage’s invitation and stated, “No! We will not add beads to the fence – we will subtract!” As a public work of art, 'Revelry' quickly evolved with - and for - the people, and by sundown, the fence was stripped of nearly 30,000 bead necklaces. Rather than divide the people’s emotional response to public art, ‘Revelry’ divided the people’s physical response between adding and taking the beads. Rather than bringing the celebration to the fence, the people of ArtPrize took the beads and joyously infected the city with 'Revelry'. Is it vandalism? Is it appropriation? In yet another stunning turn of events, ‘Revelry’ was resurrected the next day as people returned the beads they took from the fence, or simply contributed beads they purchased or already owned. They designed their own patterns on the empty metal canvas and dropped off bags of beads for others to enjoy. Abstract shapes and symbols of crosses, hearts, and smiley faces sprinkled the length of the fence. What once was created by only a few, was reimagined as something new by many. The evolution of ‘Revelry’ continues for the duration of ArtPrize. For more information, please visit my website at #Revelry #TheFence

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth: 3'
  • Medium: plastic beads, metal chain-link fence
  • Width: 210'
  • Year created: 2015
  • Height: 6'