The Oculus and California Gate


The installation begins at the museum complex`s South Plaza with California Gate. The work comprises two blocks of Sardinian granite, each two feet thick and thirteen feet tall, with the space between them cut to reveal the shape of the state of California. The sculpture is engraved with images of life and nature. Nearby, a granite bench the same size and shape as the “missing” piece from the gate is etched with depictions of California`s waterways. Inside the museum, in the 100-foot-diameter Science Court Rotunda, Kirkland installed The Oculus, a 30-foot-wide skylight of dichroic glass. Suspended underneath is The Aerial, which consists of nearly 2,000 urethane spheres gilded in gold and palladium, loosely arranged in a circular form that suggests a swirl of electrons or the expanding universe. Beneath The Aerial is DNA Bench, which is crafted from three colors of granite and takes the floral shape of a double helix viewed on end. The bench, engraved with images and text depicting the natural world, has at its center a swirling column of mist. The artwork spreads down to the terrazzo floor, in a 100-foot-wide double spiral pattern of brass and aluminum strips.