Local News

Plensa Sculptures Donated to N.C. Museum of Art

Posted October 19, 2007 10:01 a.m. EDT
Updated October 19, 2007 7:39 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Museum of Art announced Friday it has received a gift of three Jaume Plensa sculptures, Doors of Jerusalem I, II and III, from Capitol Broadcasting Co.

“The work of Jaume Plensa is spectacular and innovative,” said Jim Goodmon, president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting. “We are pleased to bring his work to the North Carolina Museum of Art.”

“We are grateful to Capitol Broadcasting Company for this generous gift,” said Museum Director Lawrence J. Wheeler. “These extraordinary sculptures are an important addition to our collection and will bring great energy to the new Museum building.”

Cast in a translucent polyester resin and lit internally, the sculptures emit a strong, pure white light. The surface of the sculpture is tattooed with words – or as Plensa describes them “an extension of our bodies, [intended] to expand our thoughts and ideas to the external world.”

The text on the sculpture is derived from the Old Testament: Song of Solomon or Song of Songs, which is both a love poem and an allegory for love.

"For me, it's really a pleasure. I'm extremely proud," Plensa said.

The sculptures will be featured in the lobby of the Museum's new building, slated for completion in late 2009.

"What fun we're all going to have over the next two years, thinking about these things and bringing them all to life," Wheeler said.

Plensa, who is from Spain, is internationally renowned for his the faces of Crown Fountain, which he designed for Chicago and described as "a magic space." He showed his work in New York last year to critical acclaim.

Goodmon said Plensa's sculptures are a worthy addition to the Museum in Raleigh.

"We have the best museum in the country. To have this work in this museum, I consider it an honor that we're going to have it," Goodmon said.

Last year, Goodmon pledged $2.5 million to cover half the financing of Plensa's vision for downtown Raleigh – a display of flashing lights and misting water above a new plaza on Fayetteville Street. But after lengthy discussions, the Raleigh City Council rejected the proposal, saying it blocked the view down the street between the Capitol and the Progress Energy Center. Goodmon later withdrew his pledge.

Goodmon said Plensa gave his very best in the design, and he wouldn't ask him to change it. He called the move a tough decision because he isn't a quitter.

"I will never go by that location and not think about what could have been," he said. But added, "You know, I think this is better. If you stay with things, things just kind of work out in the end."

Goodmon, a supporter of public art in downtown Raleigh, vowed he would help raise money for another project. He said he wants this donation to the Museum to be a gift to the community for its support of his compnay over the past 50 years.

Capitol Broadcasting Co. is the parent company of  WRAL-TV and WRAL.com.