The Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park Expands with “Echo”

Photo by Tony Webster via Creative Commons

Towering 46-feet into the air, resin, steel and marble converge to form the contemplative visage of a young Barcelona girl in Jaume Plensa’s “Echo.” Originally commissioned by New York’s Madison Park Association and installed at Madison Square Park in 2011, “Echo” is being donated to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) by Barney A. Ebsworth, and will be inducted as the newest addition to the Olympic Sculpture Park within the coming year.

“Echo,” one of Plensa’s more than 30 publicly displayed sculptures, was inspired and named for the mythological Greek mountain nymph, Echo, who was punished by the goddess Hera, being deprived of her speech except for ability to “echo” the words spoken by others. In 2011, Plensa commented on the statue during an interview with the New York Times, where he explained, “many times [people] talk and talk, but we are not sure if we are talking with our own words or repeating just messages that are in the air. My intention is to offer something so beautiful that people have an immediate reaction, so that they think, ‘What’s happening?” And then maybe they can listen a little bit to themselves.”

The mighty statue will join the Olympic Statue Park, standing tall alongside other iconic monuments by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Mark Dion and more. Kimerly Rorschach, the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director of SAM, says, “This is an incredible gift to the city from Barney Ebsworth. ‘Echo’ will become a beacon for the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park each year.”

The SAM’s Olympic Statue Park features nine-acres of waterfront art in a vibrant setting, providing a unique outdoor art experience which includes breathtaking views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. Plensa looks forward to “Echo” standing tall on the shoreline of the park, looking out across the Puget Sound and catching views of Mount Olympus.

More information regarding Plensa and his internationally renowned works can be found online at Jaume Plensa, or visit SAM to find out more regarding the installation of “Echo,”  and other upcoming artful happenings.

is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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