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40-foot sculpture at Spaceport America entrance

March 29
21:36 2015
Newly installed sculpture at Spaceport America by artist Otto Rigan called GENESIS, arcs up to the sky. Glass embedded in the sculpture mirrors the summer sky over the spaceport. (Courtesy of New Mexico Spaceport Authority)

Newly installed sculpture at Spaceport America by artist Otto Rigan called GENESIS, arcs up to the sky. Glass embedded in the sculpture mirrors the summer sky over the spaceport. (Courtesy of New Mexico Spaceport Authority)

LAS CRUCES, N.M.: The installation last month of a 40-foot long sculpture marks the end of a long process to bring art to the entrance of Spaceport America.

Arizona artist Otto Rigan said he has received mostly positive feedback for his 11,000 pound sculpture over the last three weeks.

“It’s been really pretty positive so far, which is good because I know the spaceport is pretty controversial all over New Mexico,” Rigan said.

Rigan was chosen from more than 200 artists who submitted proposals in 2012, according to the New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department. New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Christine Anderson said Rigan’s past work complemented the existing architecture at the spaceport the best.

“He deals in metal and glass crystals, which spoke to us. Spaceport America is already iconic and strong,” Anderson told the Las Cruces Sun-News.

A panel awarded him $200,000 to design a plaza and observation deck at the remote site as well as build the steel sculpture. The piece, titled “Genesis,” is inlaid with glass pieces containing mirrors that mimic the pattern of the stars seen over the spaceport. The sculpture’s look changes throughout the day, depending on the lighting.

The project required some of the “oddest mandates” Rigan said he has ever encountered as an artist. Whatever piece he designed, it could not block the view from one side of the spaceport’s roundabout to the other. The sculpture also could not get in the way of the path of a 100-foot rocket fuselage that was being driven by on an adjacent road. Also, officials didn’t want it impacting the historic Camino Real trail. -AP

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