How Avenue of the Arts’ “Float” fell to Earth

  • Float’s hammocks only exist as photos for now.

One way to measure a thing’s success is to note how fast people miss it when it goes away. By that standard, artist Jarrett Mellenbruch’s “Float” — the dozen hammocks that were until recently arranged on the south lawn of the Bartle Hall Ballroom as part of the 2012 Avenue of the Arts program — was a big deal.

Another way to gauge success, of course, is Facebook, where “Float” had become one of the summer’s top photographic subjects, and where word quickly spread about its removal.
On Mellenbruch’s Facebook page for “Float,” you can still see the hammocks: in photographer Eric Bowers’ filtered city light, luring anonymous convention participants as they take breaks, with artists such as Cory Imig and Peregrine Honig. Ceramic sculptor Steve Gorman noted the visual dialogue between the support cables of the Bartle Hall towers (themselves topped with R.M. Fischer’s Sky Stations, perhaps the city’s most visible public art) and the hammocks’ triangular ends. (He also liked the way the installation’s title alluded to the sail-like vaults of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, to the south.) But the popularity of “Float” was mostly about the sheer fun of sharing a little sunny joy and unexpected relaxation.

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