Building walls, tearing them down

In Inspiration
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This year, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art brought British artist Andy Goldsworthy to Kansas City to create a new art installation on its grounds.

The piece, titled Walking Wall, came to life in March of this year with the first of five installations. Throughout the year, the wall was torn down and rebuilt, stone by stone, as it “walked” across the museum campus and adjoining property.

I was fortunate to see several phases of the installation throughout the year, and often glimpsed the artist as he directed the builders or walked briskly about with his camera and tripod, documenting the work as it was happening. At one time, the wall crossed a major thoroughfare and traffic had to be diverted for three weeks during that phase.

In addition to watching the wall make its journey, it was fun to see the people who made time to follow its progress. The piece is very interactive in that regard; patrons could get very close to the art as it was being created, talking with the crew and even Goldsworthy at times, getting the chance to be part of the process.

This month, Goldsworthy and his team completed the final installation. The wall ended its journey, abutting the outer wall and appearing again inside. I’m a little sad to see the movement of the wall come to an end, as it’s been a fascinating process to observe.

If you’re interesting in knowing more and hearing Goldsworthy talk about this project, check out this brief video produced by PBS. And if you’re ever in Kansas City, I hope you’ll visit the museum to see this noteworthy piece!



  1. This is so interesting, Leslie! How long will the wall stay up?

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