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15,000 Pounds of Ice Goes Into NU Sculpture

The newest building at Northwestern was constructed and demolished in the course of a few hours Monday.

Beginning at 1 p.m., students and passersby built two 8-foot structures from 375 blocks of ice outside the , a re-creation of the 1967 conceptual art work “Fluids.”

Inspired by artist Allan Kaprow’s sculpture/performance piece, Northwestern professor Inigo Manglano-Ovalle asked the Block Museum whether they could do something similar on campus. Within a couple weeks, the project was set up, with 15,000 pounds of ice, a dozen gardening gloves and a handful of stepstools ready to go.

“There’s something pretty radical about it, because you put all this effort into something that will melt,” Manglano-Ovalle said. It also breaks down the barriers between artist and audience, he said, since the audience members become artists themselves as they assemble the piece. 

Block Museum director Lisa Corrin said the project was the first reenactment the museum had been involved in. 

“It really represents the direction I’d like to take the Block,” she said. Visitors “should think about the works of art as events,” she continued, “and the museum as a state of mind.”

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