‘Disorderly Conduct’ Coming to an End
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, stick sculptures to … kindling?
Two of the towers in Disorderly Conduct, the stick sculpture by Patrick Dougherty on the Quad, recently fell over. The structural support saplings rotted and a breeze knocked the towers down, according to Terry Hammond, director and curator of the Guilford Art Gallery.
The remaining towers soon will be removed as well.
“[Director of Sustainability] David Petree and I did a close inspection last Friday and found the structural saplings in the remaining towers to be spongy too,” Terry said.
“There’s just a lot of moisture in that location: mushrooms are growing in the mulch; there’s fungus growing around the bases and green mold on some of the sticks woven around the saplings.
“I spoke with a person in N.Y. who has restored/rejuvenated several of Patrick’s sculptures around the country to see if there was any way that we might be able to stabilize the remaining towers while maintaining the artistic integrity of the piece, but in the end, we all agreed it was probably time for it to come down.
A permit has been approved for a bonfire to dispose of the remaining towers. The event will be open only to people who worked on the project and Guilford students.
“In the case of one of Patrick’s sculptures in Scotland, a huge crowd turned out to see it burned down, and it caused a big traffic nightmare for the local townspeople,” she said. “I don’t want to duplicate that!”
Built with the help of more than 100 volunteers, the sculpture was completed in February 2011.
According to the artist, a good title should have multiple meanings, and Disorderly Conduct might reference some of the wayward saplings that seem to have a mind of their own, or the tilt and sway of the individual structures, or the contrast of the circular towers made from sticks amongst Guilford’s staid, brick, Georgian architecture.
“It brought a lot of joy to a lot of people,” Terry said. “Seeing people’s expressions of awe and wonder when they saw the sculpture for the first time was great, as was seeing little kids running through it and screaming with delight!
“Many terrific friendships were forged through the creation of the sculpture and those will remain strong even thought the sculpture itself is impermanent.”
Story by David Pferdekamper ’12