Wake, Mel Chin’s giant animatronic sculpture, installed in New York City’s Times Square last summer, will be on view in Asheville, from March 15 to September 7, at 44 Collier Avenue. Chin, a WNC based conceptual artist, was named a MacArthur Fellow in September 2019.
Wake was commissioned as part of Mel Chin: All Over the Place, a multi-site survey of his works from across many decades that took place in several New York City locations. A collaborative group, led by UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio and The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, formed to plan and raise funds for the sculpture to be seen locally.
Wake – 60 feet long, 34 feet wide and 24 feet high, conceived and designed by the artist – was engineered, sculpted and fabricated by an interdisciplinary team of UNC Asheville students, faculty, staff and community artists led by Chin. The sculpture is interactive and features decks and places to sit and contemplate.
Wake evokes the hull of a shipwreck crossed with the skeletal remains of a marine mammal. The structure is linked with a carved, 21-foot-tall animatronic sculpture, accurately derived from a figurehead of the opera star Jenny Lind that was once mounted on the 19th century clipper ship, USS Nightingale. Jenny Lind moves subtly as she breathes and scans the sky.
Visitors can experience Wake daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 44 Collier Avenue. For more details and a schedule of programming, visit ashevillearts.com.