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Bold artwork inspired by Notre Dame rosette window aims to elicit surprise

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at 7:38 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at 9:54 a.m.

In the world of art, this one’s a bit different.

Look up.

And then, think guerrilla installation – artwork that’s meant to take the public by surprise.

Last fall, Emily Sippel, president of the Wichita State University Sculpture Guild, was approached by Mid-America Fine Arts and asked: Could the guild do something bold on the roof of a building in downtown Wichita?

“Guerrilla installations have been done all over the country,” Sippel said. “They are secretive and impromptu. The idea is to open people’s eyes and to bring awareness.”

And so 12 artists in the WSU Sculpture Guild took months and worked in secret to coordinate and plan their “Homage to Rosetta Window in Notre Dame,” the famed stained-glass window in the Paris cathedral.

On March 18, the 63-foot rosette was hung outside the Commerce Plaza building where Mid-America Fine Arts, a retail gallery, is located at 401 E. Douglas.

A similar project was done last September when the Ulrich Museum of Art assisted in a project called “Yarn Bombing.” The Guerrilla Knitting project covered the sculptures at WSU, including the Tom Otterness sculpture “Millipede,” which was dressed in a brightly colored knitted and crocheted sweater.

The rosette, said Brady Dreasher at Mid-America Fine Arts, is 63 feet in circumference and uses 550 feet of rope.

“It is ginormous,” Sippel said.

And yea, it is made of cloth.

But not just any type of cloth.

“It is actual underwear,” Sippel said. “We used lots and lots of underwear, lingerie, intimate clothing and stitched it all together in arrangements.”

Used underwear was purchased from local thrift stores. Socks and pajamas also were used in the creation of this artwork.

The rosette will hang until after Final Friday, Dreasher said. It is best viewed from Mead’s Corner, Gallery XII and Commerce Plaza.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com.

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