Collection of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of Holly and Horace Solomon; S.976.1
Born in New York, Richard Nonas was educated as an anthropologist, an interest that continues to influence his sculptural work. A number of critics have noted that the forms and sites that Nonas favors call to mind the totems and ceremonial enclosures of indigenous cultures. Often inspired by traditional partitioning of the land or boundary markers, Nonas's sculptures employ basic shapes and constitute the simplest definitions of space.
Telemark Shortline was originally designed by the artist for a specific site between the Hopkins Center and Wilson Hall on Dartmouth's campus. When construction commenced on the Hood Museum of Art in 1982, the work was removed. In 2009, it was re-constituted by the artist in its current location. The first part of the title comes from the sculpture's form, which resembles a deep-snow turn made with a pair of Nordic skis. "Shortline" refers to both the railroad company name (the sculpture's composition brings to mind railroad tracks) and the artist's term for the bevel-cut ends of his beams.
The sculpture itself is a broken line, formed by aligning two thirty-four-foot beams end-to-end with a seven-foot gap between them. It is a simple object that changes as you approach it, appearing at first as one continuous line, then revealing itself as separate beams. Through its very presence, Telemark Shortline subtly changes the surrounding area, activating an otherwise vacant space into a dynamic environment where the public can freely interact with the oak beams.
Last Updated: 10/25/12