Tim Curtis    
  360 Degrees (detail)

Future Perfect, St. Louis, Missouri


Subways and other transportation sites are increasingly becoming a common place to view public artwork. In St. Louis, the Arts in Transit program has created an active, ongoing art program throughout the new metro system. In conjunction with the Bi-State Development Agency, Arts in Transit invited artists to participate in the planning and design of the 18-mile MetroRail, which opened in July 1993. They also commission temporary pieces for three-year stints at metro stations. One recent project, Future Perfect by Tim Curtis, was unveiled in April during Earth Day ceremonies at the entry to the Westbound MetroLink station. Curtis's piece was chosen from over 75 artists' proposals submitted through a 1995 ArtLink competition. The installation's focal point is a dugout canoe covered in gold leaf, skimming through slender tree branches high above commuters' heads.

Future Perfect is a reminder to St. Louisans' of the nearby Mississippi River and an old-fashioned means of travel. In addition to the transportation metaphor, the installation invites speculation about the value of technological advances in modern culture. Curtis intends his boats and vessel forms to convey a deeper mythological meaning, signifying transition," ... as symbols for the journey through this life, or as mystical vessels sailed into the hereafter." The canoe was carved with a chain saw and an adz, and the artist used a traditional method of burning out the inside. Reflecting on this process, Curtis underlines his fascination with integrating labor and art, stating, "These methods often require monotonous toil which then becomes a ritual in itself."


    Sculpture Magazine, July/August 1995