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PUBLIC

ART

TOUR

LAKE ANNE

SERIES


Project Director — Anne Delaney Research and texts — Phoebe Avery Copy editing — Janet Rems Photography — Charlotte Geary Photography, George Mason University Libraries, Public Art Reston, Reston Historic Trust & Museum, and Robert Webb Design — Abigail Fundling Public Art Reston seeks to inspire an ongoing commitment to public art and create a new generation of artworks in Reston. Public Art Reston is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and contributions are tax deductible to


PUBLIC ART TOUR SERIES: LAKE ANNE Welcome to the first publication in the Public Art Tour Series developed by Public Art Reston. This series provides an opportunity to take a self-guided walking tour of public art in specific areas of Reston while drawing attention to the rich collection of public artworks in the community. This is the second and updated edition of the first guide in the series (the second guide is devoted to Reston Town Center). It focuses on the public art at Lake Anne Village Center, the historic heart of Reston, built in the 1960s. The guide will take you on an art walk throughout the open plazas and along the paths where you will experience the diverse range of works that enhance public spaces. The intent of the series is also to raise awareness about the role of Public Art Reston in commissioning and documenting public art in the community. The commitment to enhancing the experience of public spaces is key to the mission of the organization. Public art has been a part of Reston since it was first integrated into the design of Lake Anne Village Center and the benefit of art in daily life is referenced in the seven founding principles for Reston outlined by its founder, Robert E. Simon, Jr. Public Art Reston is a non-profit that was founded in 2007 to build on this precept and to create a sustainable commitment to public art in this uniquely planned community. Through the efforts and vision of engaged community stakeholders the Public Art Master Plan for Reston was adopted by the organization in 2008. Over the past decade, this document has guided the work of Public Art Reston as well as the installation of several temporary and permanent public artworks in the community. With this guide, Public Art Reston invites you to consider Lake Anne Village Center as both an open-air art gallery and a unique Reston experience that promotes the value of art in daily life. We hope you will not only enjoy discovering and learning about the public art at Lake Anne Village Center, but also be inspired to explore more of Reston’s public art, with a growing collection of artworks located throughout the community.

Anne Delaney Executive Director Public Art Reston 2


ARTWORKS Pyramid / James Rossant 5–6 Untold Stories / Zachary Oxman 7–8 Pulpit / James Rossant 9–10 Plaza Fountain / James Rossant 11–12 Decorative Icons / Chermayeff & Geismar 13–14 Moorings Drive Underpass / Olin L. Russum 15–16 Sun Boat / Gonzalo Fonseca 17–18 Lookout Tower / James Rossant 19–20 Intent, Wooden Horse / Marco Rando 21–22 Van Gogh Bridge and Swing / William Roehl 23–24 North Shore Drive Underpass and Pylon / Gonzalo Fonseca 25–26 Temporary Projects and Programs 27–28

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INTRODUCTION A bronze statue of an historic figure set in a traffic circle, a war memorial in a civic park, a modern metal sculpture installed in front of an office building – such examples are synonymous with public art. We might stop to visit them once in a while or briefly register them in our peripheral vision, but how often do we experience public art in our own neighborhood as a part of our daily lives? For Reston, however, public art was an essential element in the plans for the Lake Anne Village Center (LAVC). Indeed, Robert E. Simon, Jr. (1914-2015) prioritized the beneficial role of art in his seven founding principles for Reston proclaiming, “That beauty – structural and natural – is a necessity of the good life and should be fostered.”i Public art would be given equal weight in his 1960s “New Town” alongside recreational amenities, an idea that was unprecedented in the design of planned communities in the post-WWII era. The architects and planners, James Rossant and William Conklin of the firm Whittlesey and Conklin (later Conklin and Rossant), fulfilled this vision by seamlessly integrating architecture with public art throughout Lake Anne communal spaces. The original sculptural features at Lake Anne were conceived in concert with the built environment and formed of the same construction materials. In her 1966 review of the public sculpture, noted art historian Phyllis Hattis observed, “ . . . Because of Reston’s expert planning with its proportionate emphasis on sculpture within the architectural schemes, a perceptive observer can enjoy an integrated artistic environment that works exceptionally well. The whole becomes much greater than the sum of its parts.”ii This structural interplay reflects a mid-century modern ethos rooted in the expression of universal forms and a truth to materials that permeates all aspects of the LAVC design. While not widely known outside professional circles, the Lake Anne planners and artists realized a unique, visually stimulating environment, one that continues to foster play and daily interaction with artworks as well as engender a sense of place. This guide not only provides an opportunity to share the contributions of major artistic figures but also to highlight recent permanent and temporary installations and projects that continue to activate the site. The reader is encouraged to envision an evolving public art space while exploring artworks that span over five decades since the founding of Reston. These works will also be put into context to encourage a deeper understanding of the original role of public art at LAVC while also imagining its current and future potential throughout the 4 community.


Pyramid (1965) James Rossant Concrete Owner: Lake Anne of Reston, a Condominium Map #1

PHOTOGRAPHY © PUBLIC ART RESTON

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The Pyramid is among four architectural sculptures at LAVC formed in cast concrete by renowned architect, master planner and artist James Rossant (1928-2009). Through his professional partnership with William Conklin, Rossant realized many award-winning projects, including the plans for Reston as well the 1987 design for the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. The 1962 Butterfield House in Manhattan, one of their early collaborations, is a celebrated New York landmark whose distinctive putty-colored brick and molded concrete pillars and planar forms presaged their work at LAVC. Fashioned of the same reinforced concrete used in the surrounding buildings, the Pyramid was made on the spot by pouring the concrete in place. This material is associated with the Brutalist style of architecture then in vogue. Derived from the French for raw concrete or “béton brut,” it celebrates the infinitely modular potential of the material in its pure state to express abstract, volumetric forms. While Rossant was also an accomplished draftsman and painter, his large-scale, cast concrete sculptures for Reston are unique to his oeuvre and are among a limited number of sculptures he produced during his prolific career. Presented with the blank canvas provided by Simon, Rossant and Conklin envisioned site-specific sculptures throughout the common areas of LAVC that would appeal to adults and children alike. Their creative outlook was formed at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where they were among a loyal cadre of architects and urban planners trained by its director, the influential German founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, and who embraced his concept of the “total” work of art or union of all the arts, including architecture, together. Thus, the plan for a seamless integration of sculpture with architecture at Lake Anne was a natural fit for Rossant. Reminiscent of ancient prototypes, the Pyramid is a modern study in horizontal and vertical lines that mirror similar directional forces in the surrounding buildings. Conceived on a more intimate scale, the sculpture draws the visitor near to invite active engagement with its deep, stepped elevations, each side presenting a unique design when experienced in the round. The many ground level openings also lead the eye into an interior space that is intentionally sized for small children. Dubbed “The Cave” by its many fans, the opening was originally outfitted with a water fountain perfect for momentarily sneaking out of parental view for a clandestine and refreshing drink. The playful, easy access of the work characterizes the element of fun Robert Simon and his planners sought to integrate into communal spaces.


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Untold Stories (2004) Zachary Oxman Cast bronze Owner: Reston Historic Trust & Museum Map #2

PHOTOGRAPHY © CHARLOTTE GEARY

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This work acquired the familiar title of “Bronze Bob” soon after it was installed. Commissioned from noted contemporary sculptor and Reston native Zachary Oxman, the life-like portrait of Robert(“Bob”) Simon was unveiled at the first Founder’s Day in 2004 and has been a popular spot for the impromptu photo ever since. The occasion not only marked the 40th anniversary of Reston but also the 90th birthday of Simon who lived in nearby Heron House from 1993 until his death in 2015. This bronze doppelganger would be a happy surprise for Simon. In fact, the bench was temporarily (and clandestinely) removed by Oxman to ensure correct dimensions and reinstalled with its new occupant right before the celebrations. Just as Mr. Simon would become a familiar presence at Lake Anne, this permanent public sculpture expresses the essence of his amiable and curious character. Oxman is familiar with capturing the spirit of his subjects in the many public art commissions he has created over the years. His lively ode to Duke Ellington, Encore, located at the entrance to D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, presents the jazz legend in polished stainless steel surrounded by a swirling keyboard and seated at the base of a towering 20-foot G-clef. In 2017 Oxman installed another monumental sculpture, Convergence, in the plaza entrance to the newly developed Aperture Building in Reston. Reminiscent of a bygone Hollywood glamour, a muscular hunched and crouching male figure perches on the edge of a shiny steel basin, the opening resembling a retracting camera lens. Although not site-specific, it is a fitting reference to the building’s theme and a dramatic addition to Reston’s growing public art landscape. Trained in the traditional method of bronze casting, Oxman employs his medium to create a contemporary twist on the familiar upright, historic figure. This life-like portrait captures Simon in his hallmark Greek fisherman’s cap and beard. The relaxed, open pose also aptly characterizes the champion of social equality and community who was a familiar presence on his daily walks around the lake. For Oxman, who counts his early exposure to the public art at Lake Anne as a formative influence, this was a particularly special commission. When asked about the process Oxman remembers, “Equally as special as receiving the opportunity to create this sculpture, was that through this project, Bob and I became friends, shared a few martinis together and told some stories ... I should say, he told and I listened ... with great joy.” That sentiment is memorialized in this portrait of Simon captured mid-speech and eternally ready to engage the viewer in conversation.


“Equally as special as receiving the opportunity to create this sculpture, was that through this project, Bob and I became friends, shared a few martinis together and told some stories … I should say, he told and I listened … with great joy.” - Zachary Oxman, artist 8


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This sculptural platform was an unplanned element designed by Rossant to optically correct the slight incline of the sea wall below. Inscribed “Lake Anne 1963,” it was conceived three years prior to the opening of the site and demonstrates a certain fluid and creative freedom enjoyed by the LAVC planners to explore the visual potential of the site. The Pulpit serves to lead the eye from the corner of the plaza outward toward the end of the quay by initiating the first of the supportive vertical columns further bordering the inlet. Shaped by a hollowed-out block of molded concrete, the abstract visual language of the Pulpit befits its surroundings. In keeping with the Brutalist style, Rossant left visible the slanted lines created by the timber shuttering used to mold the form. Combined with the rough texture of the concrete, this feature further animates the surface of the sculpture. The Pulpit also brings an element of whimsy to its surroundings. Rossant described it as the “lookout of a sunken frigate” and “a place to look from and be looked at.” Like the Pyramid, it is both a sophisticated visual element as well as an imaginative play structure. Indeed, the shallow, almost vertical steps leading up to the platform seem to have been designed for smaller feet. The Pulpit furthers the sense of spectacle offered by the open plaza – a modernist amphitheater – and another unique vantage point from which to take in the lake and architectural surroundings. From its perch, the attenuated, irregular pillars rising from the roof line of Heron House (a building that itself blurs the line between architecture and sculpture) are more visible. These fanciful elements are likewise purely decorative forms and coupled with the integrated planters extending from the terraces below give the structure a highly distinctive personality.

Pulpit (1963) James Rossant Concrete Owner: Reston Association Map #3

PHOTOGRAPHY © CHARLOTTE GEARY

The rooftop of Heron House is further echoed in the much taller pulpit that Rossant later set in front of and rising high above the Baptist Church opposite. It acts as a wonderful counterpoint to its smaller relation and provides yet another “crow’s nest” – as Rossant called it – from which to not only take in the square below, but also far beyond the treetops and to view the natural and built landscape of Reston.

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Plaza Fountain (1965) James Rossant Concrete Owner: Lake Anne of Reston, a Condominium Map #4

PHOTOGRAPHY © CHARLOTTE GEARY

The Plaza Fountain sits at the core of Washington Plaza. Conceived by Rossant in molded and cast concrete, its outer ring mirrors the hemicycle of the surrounding buildings. Only partly enclosed by low curving walls that are perfect for climbing on, the work is accessible and interactive. Indeed, the plaza pavement swells slightly upward toward its perimeter and then slopes downward to form a shallow basin perfect for cooling off in the collected spray. The stone rays emanating from its base outward along the plaza extend the concrete forms of the fountain, which are best viewed from above to fully appreciate the radiating design. The inviting forms include interior stepping-stones and a grouping of three vertical elements that conjure the towers in one of Rossant’s paintings of imaginary cityscapes. The abstract, organic shapes were also inspired by the fanciful sand constructions Rossant and his friend and fellow artist, Gonzalo Fonseca, made during friendly artistic contests while vacationing together with their families on Long Island. In the film, “Fun, Beauty, Fantasy: Reston’s Public Art,” Juliette Rossant recalls watching the complicated constructions her father and Fonseca fashioned. Each family had four children, and Ms. Rossant compares the eight pot-like components arranged on the low border wall to the eight of them as they watched their fathers create with sand.iii Indeed, during childhood visits to Lake Anne, she remembers it was like walking into life-size versions of the sand sculptures the two artists made at the beach. Many of the surface details of the fountain belie a shared visual language between Rossant and Fonseca in their sculptures for Lake Anne, including mysterious niches and astral forms. The verticality of the interior grouping also mirrors the surrounding architecture, yet the more organic shapes serve to soften the strict architectural geometries. They also bring to mind a figural grouping. All of the elements combine to evoke personal associations through a modern, abstract language of form.

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It was like walking into life-size versions of the sand sculptures the two artists [Rossant and Fonseca] made at the beach.


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Decorative Icons (1965) Chermayeff & Geismar Owner: Reston Historic Trust & Museum Map #5

PHOTOGRAPHY © CHARLOTTE GEARY

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This collection of decorative pieces, now displayed on a panel in the plaza breezeway, once adorned the façade of the Lakeside Pharmacy. This was the last of the original ground level businesses along Washington Plaza and individually owned and operated until 2014 by pharmacist Tom Krohn.iv The icons were among an ensemble of bold sculptural signage conceived by renowned graphic designer Ivan Chermayeff (1932-2017) to visually unify the storefronts around the plaza crescent. Chermayeff and his partner Tom Geismar founded the prominent New York graphic design firm, Chermayeff and Geismar (now Chermayeff, Geismar & Haviv) in 1959 and created some of the most innovative and instantly recognizable logos, including the NBC “peacock” and the Mobil “O.” For Mobil’s former corporate headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia Chermayeff created a three-dimensional version of their logo into an abstract sculpture. The designer referred to such works as “environmental art,” including including his monumental number nine at the entrance to 9 West 57th Street in New York. These notable examples translate the ordinary onto a monumental scale in a playful partnership with the built environment. Such designs also reflect a 1960s Pop Art aesthetic where everyday symbols are elevated into fine art. The comb, pills and Band-Aid fit for a giant were displayed across from a grouping of wooden abstract sculptures masquerading as barber polls that still announce the entrance to the former tenant. Even the plaza shop fronts were conceived as a public art space in a unified graphic syntax that ideally suited the modern, mid-century design and further established the Bauhaus concept of a total work of art at Lake Anne Village Center.


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Moorings Drive Underpass (1967) Olin L. Russum, Jr. Ceramic mosaic Owner: Reston Association Map #6

PHOTOGRAPHY Š Public Art Reston; Planned Community Archives collection, C001, Box 186, Folder 04, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries

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This site-specific, ceramic tile mural by noted studio potter Olin Russum (1918-88) for the Moorings Drive underpass enlivens one of the twenty-five pedestrian tunnels situated throughout Reston. Such tunnels can be forbidding and thus inviting works of art were integrated into the first underpasses for Reston both here and at the other end of LAVC, another unusual element in this planned community. While little is known about the commission for this work, Reston is fortunate to have a piece by Russum whose large-scale, abstract ceramic murals can be found in public spaces in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. In concert with teaching ceramic workshops at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Russum established his home and studio in 1951 in a converted barn near Gunpowder Falls, MD, where he collaborated with his wife, the wood sculptor and furniture designer, Jean Bosley Russum. Originally one of a pair of murals designed for the outer wing walls of the underpass, only the right side remains. The bas-relief sculpture is formed of Russum’s signature handbuilt, individually wrought ceramic tiles and arranged in an undulating mosaic decorated in glazed earthen tones. The tiles are fired in shades of terracotta, charcoal, green and sienna brown that integrate the forms with the surrounding landscape and situate the underpass within the natural setting. Each tile is a unique and organic shape in which Russum incised marks and applied multi-colored glazes in a gestural and spontaneous manner. The whole arrangement is reminiscent of a landscape carved by streams and tree limbs. The outline of the form is also said to reflect the shape of the original map of Reston. From contemporary photos of the work (pictured here, including Russum during installation), the left side was its complement and together the work was made to accommodate the triangular shape of the concrete walls. Indeed, Russum was sympathetic to the space he was given to work with. His design both fits into and accentuates the concise geometry while also softening the surface with the individually handcrafted and modeled ceramic tiles.


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Sun Boat (1965) Gonzalo Fonseca Concrete Owner: Lake Anne of Reston, a Condominium Map #7

PHOTOGRAPHY © PUBLIC ART RESTON and ROBERT WEBB

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The Sun Boat, by famed Uruguayan artist Gonzalo Fonseca (19221997), is a site-specific sculptural environment whose fanciful collection of molded concrete elements are fully integrated into the plaza next to Heron House. Viewed from above, they look like an abstract composition while at ground level they occupy a navigable space. When he came to work on the sculptures for Reston in 1963, Fonseca was already an internationally renowned artist known mainly for his paintings. During the 1960s, the artist would transition to working mainly in sculpture. His works in Reston are an early iteration of what would become a distinctive sculptural language that Fonseca mostly realized in carved stone blocks. His other noted concrete work is the temporary 39-foottall tower for the “Route of Freedom,” commissioned for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Fonseca was later honored as the Uruguayan representative to the 1999 Venice Biennale in recognition of his lifetime artistic achievements. While little known outside art world circles, Fonseca’s work is ripe for reexamination. Reston is fortunate to boast two major site-specific sculptures by the artist. Initially trained as an architect, Fonseca went on to study with the influential painter Joaquin Torres-Garcia in Montevideo. Head of his own worship and an active theoretician, Torres-Garcia created a style of painting known as Universal Constructivism. Fonseca directly responded to his teacher’s abstract language of forms that was also inspired by iconic symbols drawn from ancient African and Pre-Columbian figurative art. A polymath, Fonseca traveled to Europe and the Middle East to complete his education. Along the way, his interests also led him to work on archaeological excavations, experiences that would have a major impact on his artistic development. By the late 1950s, he had established a New York studio and developed his own abstract language in paint that he would later translate to sculpture. The Sun Boat incorporates many of his signature iconic forms, including mysterious niches and textural elements that enliven the surfaces of his volumetric, architectural configurations.


The Sun Boat ... has had a magnetic pull for generations of children who instantly climb aboard ready for an adventure.

If you were one of the initial clients touring Lake Anne, you might have encountered Fonseca at work among the hard hats. Indeed, he became a familiar fixture during the construction and was said to happily engage passersby interested in knowing more about his work. Fonseca would spend over six months at the site going beyond his original remit to create two other smaller-scale sculptures in wood, including Wooden Horse and Building that eventually degraded from exposure to the elements. The latter was located in the smaller “piazetta” across the inlet. Rossant evocatively described the Sun Boat floating in a “red brick sea.” The work is conceived as a multi-part play structure that includes not only a rowboat but also a post and lintel passageway, a signature tapered monolith punctured by characteristic peepholes and multiple, geometric volumes populated by enigmatic, figural shapes set in niches. Together the elements evoke a lost civilization waiting to be discovered. The Sun Boat sprang from the imagination of an artist keen to create the perfect dreamscape for conjuring endless games. And it has had a magnetic pull for generations of children who instantly climb aboard ready for an adventure. Robert Simon once passed by the boat in the company of a journalist. Filled with children yelling and gesticulating, Simon stopped to ask them what was the matter. Pointing to the lake, they replied, “Sharks!” He could not have asked for a better response.

Photo of Ken and Scott Webb, by father Robert Webb, resident of Lake Anne since 1968.

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Lookout Tower (1964) James Rossant Concrete Owner: Lake Anne Plaza Map #8

PHOTOGRAPHY © CHARLOTTE GEARY

Further on from the Sun Boat, Rossant created a third platform, the Lookout Tower, reached by steep stairs and set over the low railing that borders Lake Anne. Another unplanned addition to the site, it was initially designed to test the concrete for Heron House (the levels are clearly marked on the side). It has become an integral feature among the public art at LAVC. Balanced by the Heron House across the plaza, the structure provides another elevated vantage point to appreciate both the lake and the sculptural forms of the highrise. Indeed, the multiple vertical silhouettes of the Lookout Tower are similar to the notched chimney-like pillars that rise from the roofline above. Conklin once described the feature as a metaphorical lighthouse to guide boats in the lake while Rossant referred to it as a “moon-viewing platform.” Such evocative associations attest to the element of fantasy Robert Simon envisioned for the site. He himself described the structure as a stairway that goes nowhere and serves no purpose. Yet for him, it brought the essential element of fun he desired for Reston residents, creating not only a place to work and live but also to play.

Conklin once described the feature as a metaphorical lighthouse to guide boats in the lake.

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Intent, Wooden Horse (2020) Marco Rando with contributions from South Lakes High School STEAM Public Art Club Students Pressure Treated Lumber (Southern Pine), Exterior Grade Screws, Galvanized Nut & Bolts. Hidden Heart – Pressure Treated Lumber, Paint, Marker Owner: Lake Anne of Reston, a Condominium Map #9

PHOTOGRAPHY © PUBLIC ART RESTON

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The artist, teacher and long-time Restonian pays homage to a wooden horse first created for LAVC by Gonzalo Fonseca in the 1960s. Inspired by his time working at the site, Fonseca fabricated two additional play sculptures from salvaged wood and construction materials. In a contemporary inventory of Lake Anne Village Center public art, James Rossant wrote: “The wooden horse speaks for itself. Spade handles form the stirrups. He is very popular with the younger children.” Sadly, the original horse, along with Fonseca’s equally beloved Building, eventually deteriorated. Commissioned to recreate the sculpture he fondly remembers playing on as a child, Rando elaborates on his prototype. This is the second version of the sculpture the artist first realized in 2016 and which was compromised by insect damage in 2019. Rando retrieved the legs and head to which he added a new and elongated body. The 2016 work employed the Y section of a tree trunk Rando used to accentuate the chest. Here the form is devised of stacked pine boards that draw attention to the handcrafted appearance. One can imagine a saddle placed in the depression on top of the body while also holding onto the dowels protruding like eyes from the abstract, triangular head; a reference to the ones Fonseca included in an ode to a rocking horse. Fonseca is further referenced in the shape of the horse’s tail, which is inspired by the imaginary vessel in Sun Boat. Coupled with its playful appearance there is an added element of surprise similar in spirit to the mysterious niches favored by Fonseca. Rando notes: “While assembling the horse I realized the skeletal structure afforded a cavity that could cradle a heart. So, it seemed only natural to ask my STEAM Public Art Club students at South Lakes High School if they wished to contribute by adorning the heart with art.” Indeed, this spirit of generosity and collaboration are essential to Rando’s teaching and artistic practice. The students created the heart, visible through a plexiglass window inserted in the chest, from leftover lumber, which they decorated with paint and marker. Elaborating on his new title for the work, Rando poetically states that this hidden element is a “symbol of intention to represent the heart of humanity” and to be found only if one takes time to consider the work from all angles.


Intent, Wooden Horse (2020)

Wooden Horse (2016)

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Wooden Horse (1965)


Van Gogh Bridge and Swing (1965) William Roehl, William Conklin, James Rossant Wood, steel, and wood composite Owner: Reston Association Map #10, #11 PHOTOGRAPHY Š CHARLOTTE GEARY and ROBERT WEBB

These two picturesque, recreational elements were conceived by the Lake Anne planners. The pedestrian bridge was designed by architect William Roehl, an associate partner in the firm of Whittlesey and Conklin, to link Washington Plaza with Waterview Cluster across the canal. The design references its namesake and the drawbridge in Arles, France, immortalized by Van Gogh in his paintings. Likewise, it has become a local landmark, particularly for taking photos when the nearby weeping cherry trees are in bloom. The bridge offers a special vantage point to stop and take in the lake and colorful townhouses. Roehl also designed a womb-like, cane wicker seat that was suspended from the Swing, a post and lintel frame designed by Conklin and Rossant that now supports a different seat from which to take in the vista over the canal. Indeed, every detail of the Village Center involved thought and planning to foster shared visual delight and opportunities for momentary reflection among neighbors. Such amenities anticipated the current trend in urban planning toward placemaking by integrating consciously designed recreational elements in multiuse development.

23 Photo of Ken and Scott Webb, by father Robert Webb, resident of Lake Anne since 1968.


Every detail of the Village Center involved thought and planning to foster visual delight and opportunities for momentary reflection. 24


North Shore Drive Underpass and Pylon (1965) Gonzalo Fonseca Concrete Owner: Reston Association Map #12

PHOTOGRAPHY Š CHARLOTTE GEARY and ROBERT WEBB

In concert with the Sun Boat, Fonseca conceived the North Shore Drive Underpass as a holistic, site-specific sculptural environment. In this first such tunnel for Reston, the unusually generous dimensions provided the artist the freedom to fully employ his capacious imagination and his signature abstract and enigmatic forms. The walls are filled with molded concrete cylinders, cubes and domes that protrude in various degrees from either side of the tunnel in a seamless integration with the space. The curious viewer will discover unexpected niches, pierced volumes, etched details and figural elements that enliven every corner of the tunnel and combine to suggest an imaginary world. Fonseca included a vessel similar to the one for the Sun Boat and populated by a grouping reminiscent of those in the Plaza Fountain. The North Shore Drive Underpass is bookended by three exterior works situated along the path. On the Lake Anne side, there is a seven-foot rhomboid pierced by two playful peepholes that welcome a different vantage point. On the opposite end, Pylon, another seven-foot monolith, extends the relationship between solid and void. An egg-shaped cutout is perfect for housing a small child. Like the other poured concrete sculptures at Lake Anne, Fonseca left the textured stripes of timber shuttering to enhance the vertical orientation, an aesthetic choice also in keeping with the prevalent Brutalist style that favored raw, unfinished concrete. The form is further animated by fanciful and evocative details, including one of the reinforcing metal rods that is broken into a starburst and exploits the creative possibilities of a functional element. Across from Pylon sits a stepped, totemic structure that was a signature shape for Fonseca and repeated in other works. One of the goals of the LAVC planners was to encourage the appreciation of modern art by making the abstract public


sculptures both engaging and functional. To that end, Fonseca integrated a seating element at one entrance of the North Shore Drive Underpass. A concrete bench surrounds a wooden table inviting momentary respite. Such seamless design can go unnoticed but is a hallmark of Fonseca who favored the element of surprise in works that conjure new civilizations awaiting discovery.

Such seamless design ‌ is a hallmark of Fonseca who favored the element of surprise in works that conjure new civilizations awaiting discovery.

Photo of Ken and Scott Webb, by father Robert Webb, resident of Lake Anne since 1968.

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Temporary Projects & Programs

PHOTOGRAPHY © CHARLOTTE GEARY and PUBLIC ART RESTON

From the outset, Washington Plaza has been host to cultural events. Robert Simon set the precedent at the official opening in 1966 when he invited a full line-up of professional dancers and musicians to perform on the plaza. The stage-like setting with its modern architectural backdrop continues to inspire temporary art events and performances. In 2012, architect and artist Ronit Eisenbach with collaborator and choreographer, Sharon Mansur, developed a three-week, site-specific installation and dance performance inspired by the sculpture, architecture and history of the site. Out of Place included a series of cast resin fiberglass floats inspired by the townhouse window frames. These were drawn across the Lake Anne inlet at angles by ropes and pulleys. In daylight, the floats looked like concrete and were dramatically illuminated at night by solar-powered LED lights that cast colorful shadows on the water and built surfaces. Sharon Mansur and her partner, Daniel Burkholder, further activated the space through a site-specific dance performance along the waterfront and throughout the plaza. In August 2014 and September 2018, Public Art Reston and the Lake Anne of Reston, a Condominium (LARCA), sponsored the Before I Die project, setting up a month-long, communitycentric installation in different locations on Washington Plaza. Passersby were invited to respond to the above prompt on a large chalkboard with their personal chalked messages, each adding to a collective work of art. This participatory public art project began in 2007 and has since been mounted throughout the world with over 5,000 temporary Before I Die walls created to date. Conceived by Candy Chang in 2007 as a creative response to grief after the death of a friend, she erected the first of these oversized, stenciled chalkboards along the wall of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood. Within a day the 41’ x 8’board was filled in with an array of individual messages, reflecting community hopes and dreams.

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Out of Place

Before I Die Project


This success inspired Chang to create a replicable project for others to share and to engender an open conversation about death by reflecting on – in her words – “what really matters”.v Chalk art has also been a feature on Washington Plaza during the Chalk on the Water events, two-day annual chalk festivals in June organized by Public Art Reston from 2014-2018 in collaboration with LARCA. These juried chalk festivals invited participants to create a continuous collection of chalked squares with their original designs. Judges were invited to assess the works and award prizes in three categories, including professional and amateur artists and families and kids, while visitors could enjoy the drawings that transformed the plaza pavement into a temporary art installation. Such community-minded projects are a hallmark of the site and included the 2015 We Make Reston project organized by Public Art Reston and the Reston Community Center. The six-week installation included a dramatic display of giant black-and-white photographic portraits along the sea wall on the Lake Anne inlet. Like Before I Die, this participatory art project invited all Reston residents as well as those who work in Reston to contribute to the work. Participants submitted bust-length, close-up portraits to be blown-up into large-scale posters for display in various locations around Reston. This endeavor was inspired by the INSIDE OUT project created by artist JR. According to his guidelines, an INSIDE OUT “Group Action” occurs when one or more individuals take the lead in organizing the project somewhere in the world.vi The Reston organizers were invited to choose their own message for the project, one that made an impactful visual statement of the individuals that combine to create a community. Additional photographs of all of these projects and events can be viewed on the Public Art Reston website.vii

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Chalk on the Water at Lake Anne Artist: Penny Hauffe

We Make Reston


Ivan Chermayeff 1932 — Born, London, England 1955 — B.F.A, Yale University 2017 — Died, New York, New York

Gonzalo Fonseca 1922 — Born, Montevideo, Uruguay 1939–42 — Studied architecture at the University of Montevideo 1997 — Died, Seravezza, Italy

Tom Geismar 1931 — Born, Glen Ridge, New Jersey 1955 — BFA, Yale University

Zachary Oxman 1968 — Born, Reston, Virginia 1988 — Completed independent study, Studio Arts Center International, Florence, Italy 1990 — BFA, Carnegie Mellon University

Marco Rando 1963 — Born, Brooklyn, New York 1980 — Studied Fashion & Art Parsons School of Design, NY, NY 1985 — Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute 1996 — Studied Sculpture, Corcoran School of Art

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William Roehl 1928 — Born, Clinton, Iowa 1950 — Received BA, University of Kansas 1955 — Received MA, Princeton University 2016 — Died, Noank, New York

James Rossant 1928 — Born, New York, New York 1950 — BA, University of Florida 1953 — MA, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design 2009 — Died, Condeau, France

Olin L. “Russ” Russum, Jr. 1918 — Born, Bangor, Maine 1940 — BA, University of California, Santa Barbara 1948 — MFA, Claremont Universities 1998 — Died, Brooklandville, Maryland

30


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31

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1.

2.

3.

4.

5. 6.

8.

9.

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11.

12.

Untold Stories (2004) by Zachary Oxman 11404 Washington Plaza W Pulpit (1965) by James Rossant 11404 Washington Plaza W Plaza Fountain (1965) by James Rossant 11404 Washington Plaza W Decorative Icons (1965) by Chermayeff & Geismar 11404 Washington Plaza W

7.

Pyramid (1965) by James Rossant 11404 Washington Plaza W

Moorings Drive Underpass (1967) by Olin L. “Russ� Russum, Jr. Moorings Drive Underpass Sun Boat (1965) by Gonzalo Fonseca 11404 Washington Plaza W Lookout Tower (1964) by James Rossant 11404 Washington Plaza W Intent, Wooden Horse (2020) by Marco Rando 11437 Washington Plaza W Van Gogh Bridge (1965) by William Roehl The Green Trail at Waterview Cluster Swing (1965) by James Rossant and William Conklin North Shore Dr. Underpass North Shore Underpass and Pylon (1965) by Gonzalo Fonseca North Shore Dr. Underpass

32


ENDNOTES & FURTHER READING

33

i. For more information about the seven founding principles for Reston established by Robert Simon, visit the Reston Association website at www.reston.org ii. Phyllis Hattis, “Sculpture: The Rest of Reston,” Connection; visual arts at Harvard, fall 1966, vol. 4:1, pp. 28-[35]; with illus., 29 iii. Go to the Public Art Reston website at www. publicartreston.org to watch this short documentary that includes interviews with key figures in Reston’s history and its tradition of public art. iv. When new businesses moved into the former pharmacy space, the icons were donated to the Reston Historic Trust & Museum. In response to a successful fundraising campaign the museum created the new, permanent, public exhibit for the icons in the plaza breezeway, which was designed by Jeanne Krohn of Krohn Design with restoration and installation by Capitol Museum Services. v. This ongoing project is further described on the Before I Die website at www.beforeidieproject.com vi. This ongoing project is further described on the INSIDE OUT website at www.insideoutproject.net vii. Much of the research for this guide, including the quotes throughout the text attributed to James Rossant, can be found in the Reston archives located in the Special Collections Research Center at George Mason.


Public Art Reston wishes to thank Pat & Steve Macintyre for sponsoring this guide.


publicartreston.org © Public Art Reston 2020

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