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Nancy Graves’ Masterpiece “Sequi” Finds New Home on CSULB Campus

Nancy Graves’ Masterpiece “Sequi” Finds New Home on CSULB Campus

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The Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum proudly unveils the installation of American Artist Nancy Graves’ iconic sculpture, “Sequi,” on the serene lower quad of the California State University Long Beach (CSULB) campus. This event marks a significant milestone, as “Sequi” becomes the first outdoor sculpture collection piece to grace the campus in over three decades.

The awe-inspiring “Sequi,” a product of Graves’ creative genius, was originally commissioned and exhibited at the Wells Fargo Center on Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles back in 1984. The artist held this masterpiece in high regard, considering it one of her most vital creations. Now, having been generously gifted to the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum in 2022, “Sequi” stands proudly near the College of Professional and Continuing Education after meticulous planning and coordination between Museum leadership, the Nancy Graves Foundation, Cooke’s Crating, and CSULB’s Beach Building Services.

Image provided by the Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum.

The outdoor sculpture collection dates back to the pre-Museum era, originating from the 1965 International Sculpture Symposium, a groundbreaking initiative that witnessed the collaborative birth of nine sculptures, bridging the realms of art and industry. In a manner reminiscent of those pioneering works, “Sequi” showcases the fusion of advanced techniques with manufacturing prowess.

Collaborating with Tallix Foundry in upstate New York, Graves employed techniques rooted in ancient craftsmanship and refined during the Renaissance. Each element of the sculpture was cast using upscaled molds derived from actual plants, infusing the artwork with a profound connection to the natural world. Graves adorned the sculpture’s surface with a special paint developed by NASA contractors for space exploration vehicles—an ingenious convergence of art and technology that embodies the spirit of the Museum’s collection and the artist’s legacy.

Image of the Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum via csulb.edu

“Sequi” gracefully joins the distinguished roster of public art curated by the Museum, standing alongside eighteen sculptures, two murals, and a captivating Millard Sheets mosaic. This artistic ensemble now boasts twenty-one sculptures, with a twenty-second bronze sculpture set to be unveiled during the upcoming 2023–24 academic year.

Nancy Graves left an indelible mark through her pioneering approach that seamlessly merged the social and natural sciences. Her vast body of work spans various mediums, including printmaking, drawing, painting, and sculpture, reflecting a dedication to multidisciplinary exploration. The Museum holds multiple treasures by Graves, each exemplifying her hallmark multidisciplinary approach and vibrant use of color—a testament to the Museum’s commitment to innovative material expression and diverse artistic practice.

With the permanent addition of “Sequi” to the Museum’s collection, the institution eagerly extends its mission to the public. Visitors to the CSULB campus are encouraged to go on a self-guided Art Park walking tour, made accessible through an online map available at csulb.edu/museum. This newfound engagement invites all to delve into the realm of contemporary art and culture in a uniquely enriching environment.

The Museum is excited to announce Exhibition Opening Receptions scheduled for September 14, from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM, providing a platform for art enthusiasts and the community to come together and celebrate this remarkable addition.

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