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Ned Kahn



Kahn artwork concept   Kahn artwork concept


For the last 15 years, Ned Kahn has been creating public artworks that seek to increase awareness of natural phenomena. Using materials such as water, wind, fog, and light, he has worked to create contemplative oases in urban environments, places where people can reconnect with the larger forces of nature. He is interested in creating artworks that reveal the invisible and blur the boundaries between art, science, and architecture.

In recent years, he has completed a series of artworks that reveal forces in the environment by converting natural flow patterns, such as wind and water, into the pixilated motion of thousands of small metal parts. He has been calling these artworks “detectors” for they are analogous to the detectors on telescopes and other scientific devices that reveal the effects of the invisible.

For the Sacramento Airport, his artwork titled Airside will line the sides of the APM bridge with an array of small wind vanes that will respond to the turbulence of the passing trains as well as the natural wind. The passing trains will flip the vanes from one side to another depending on the train’s direction. In the interval between trains, the natural wind currents will take control of the artwork.His intent is to create an artwork that will enliven the experience of passengers on-board the APM as well as being visible from multiple vantage points inside the terminals and the roadways. In addition to responding to the movement of the passing trains, the array of wind vanes will change constantly with the wind, the weather, the time of day, and with the seasons, creating an engaging register of the mood of the atmosphere at any given moment.


Kahn artwork completed


Combining the forces of nature with the artistic process, Ned Kahn’s work exemplifies motion and encourages interaction. His Public Art Commissions include the San Francisco Airport BART Station; ATF Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; Tempe Center for the Arts; and Yahoo Headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA; among many more. Kahn’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including: The Museum of National History in London, de Young Museum in San Francisco, Mole Antonelliana in Torino, Italy, and the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland. Kahn was the 2005 recipient of the Year in Review Award for Public Art Network from Americans for the Arts and was a 2003 MacArthur Foundation Fellow. He holds a BA in Environmental Science from The University of Connecticut, Storrs.


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