ECA News Briefs

City of Alexandria Annual Public Art Series Presents Mark Reigelman Groundswell

The City of Alexandria unveiled its newest public art installation, Groundswell, in Alexandria’s Waterfront Park (1 Prince St.). This new temporary installation by Mark Reigelman is the third in the Site See: New Views in Old Town annual public art series, and will be on display through November 2021.

Commissioned to create an original installation for Waterfront Park, Reigelman focused on Alexandria’s working waterfront as the shoreline crept further into the Potomac River. In his research, he learned that drastic measures manipulated the city’s shoreline. Starting in the 18th century, thousands of wood pilings were driven deeper and deeper into the Potomac River over time, thereby shifting the city’s waterfront over decades. This allowed Alexandria to develop and grow its sprawling dock into a major commercial port.

Groundswell pays homage to this ever-evolving history and brings an element of play to the shoreline’s material topography. The installation features a ground mural depicting the floor of the Potomac River and more than 100 wood pilings throughout the site. They will range in heights from 12 to 42 inches, in accordance with the river floor topography, or bathymetry. Each 14-inch-diameter piling will be topped with a cobalt blue mirrored surface etched with growth rings that suggest the passing of time. They will glisten in the light like the nearby water, reflecting the sky, as well as the faces of passersby. Reigelman hopes visitors will be immersed in this shimmering landscape as they navigate through the pilings, considering their place in the city’s history.

Artist rendering of Mark Reigelman’s Groundswell, as viewed facing east toward the sunrise over the Potomac River.

The Site See temporary public art series highlights Waterfront Park as a civic space and is informed by the historic waterfront and neighboring community. Waterfront Park is a key location for original commissioned art in Alexandria. It follows Olalekan Jeyifous’s 2020 installation Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies and SOFTlab’s 2019 Mirror Mirror installation. Reigelman was selected to create this site-specific artwork by a community task force with the Alexandria Commission for the Arts’ approval. The City of Alexandria will also commission regional artists to create site-specific performances or activations in response to Groundswell later this year.

Visitors can see Groundswell at Waterfront Park from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily starting in late March. The artwork will remain on view until November 2021.

Visit alexandriava.gov/PublicArt for more information about Groundswell and the Site See public art series.

Stopping the Spread
The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) reminds everyone there is still community spread of COVID-19. People can catch the virus when they touch contaminated objects and then touch their mouths, noses or eyes, as well as when they have close contact with others who may have the virus. Everyone must weigh the risks and benefits of going out in public, and of using public parks. Risks include contracting the illness and becoming severely ill, as well as the potential for spreading the virus among family and household members who may be at high risk (for example, older adults and those with underlying medical conditions). Benefits include the physical, mental and emotional rewards of getting outdoors and being physically active.

People should only visit parks and public places if they are not sick. They should frequently use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. In accordance with CDC guidance, AHD reminds everyone that face coverings are essential when physical distancing is not possible, but they should not be used by children younger than 2 years of age or by anyone who has trouble breathing. AHD advises families to only visit public places that are not crowded and to maintain 6 feet apart from those outside their household.

About Mark Reigelman
Mark Reigelman’s work reevaluates the everyday, reinvigorates public space, and challenges typical urban conditions. Emphasizing research and exploration, his diverse body of work is poised between abstraction and literal representation, which he meticulously integrates into civic spaces. Reigelman has exhibited work in public sites, galleries and museums across the world. A number of his installations have been recognized by the Americans for the Arts as being among the most compelling public works in America. Reigelman studied Sculpture and Industrial Design at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio and product design at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts in London. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, where he recently designed the imaginative and fun-filled Domino Park Playground at the waterfront site of a former sugar factory.  Learn more at www.markreigelman.com.

Public Art in Alexandria
To learn more about public art in Alexandria, review the Public Art Implementation Plan & Policy, or learn more about other public art projects in Alexandria. Visit alexandriava.gov/PublicArt or follow @alexartsoffice on Instagram and Twitter. Add to the conversation with #artsALX.