Structure in Sculpture
This is a book unlike any book on sculpture that has ever been written, and one that has important practical as well as theoretical implications. It lays out the fundamental structural issues of concern to creators and commissioners of sculpture, from balance and geometry to the structural characteristics of different materials. Schodek elucidates structural principles through exami- of the work of sculptors that include historical figures like Auguste Rodin as well as contemporary artists such as Richard Serra, Alexander Calder, and Christo.
Among the topics Schodek discusses are basic stability issues (preventing sliding, overturning, and collapse; types of structures (frameworks, plates, cables, rotating works) and their behavior under load; earthworks and
landforms; and properties of materials and their influence on structural behavior. He illustrates these topics with sculptures ranging from small free-standing pieces to the Statue of Liberty and the landscape interventions of Christo.
Structural principles are presented in a way that can be clearly understood by the nonengineer, often with the help of sketches and diagrams. They will tell a sculptor, for example, if a work proportioned in a certain way will overturn or not when set on a base, or if a particular piece is big enough to support its own weight without bending or breaking. For the more technically sophisticated reader, Schodek has developed an extensive set of Dotes and appendixes that put the concepts introduced in the text into more mathematical language.
Mark Di Suvero, Isis, 1978. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of the Institute 'of Scrap Iron and Steel, Inc.
Daniel L. Schodek is Professor of Architecture, Director of the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, and Director of the Laboratory for Construction Technology at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He is the author of several books, including Landmarks of American Civil Engineering.