hope blossoms

Hope blossomed at Huntington Mall in West Virginia last week, and Four Rooms closed this week in Frankfurt. It's been quite a month.

Hope Blossoms is a public art installation at Huntington Mall in Barboursville, WV. The installation includes a 25-foot tall paper cherry tree, paper swan ballerina, and paper pond. This is my second year there, after installing Grace's Garden last holiday season. You can visit Hope in center court through the end of May 2013.

For a look at A House With Four Rooms, click for images here and here. For a couple of lovely blog posts, click here for Heather McCaw Kerley's piece, and here for the Torpedo Factory's Jeff Sypeck.

For more on Hope Blossoms click here for a short video, here for a fun radio interview, and here for a short article.

One of my favorite things about this installation is the pond. It's made of cut paper text from Emily Dickinson's poem, Hope is the Thing With Feathers. Over the next six months, the pond will continue to fill with text as visitors toss their written "hopes" on small pieces of blue paper into the pond.

With the holiday season upon us, I'm grateful for the incredible support of family and friends, without whom these projects simply would not have happened: Ian Lowe, Mandy Gordon, Donna & Bill O'Brien, The Engen family (especially Brennah), Mary Cook and Allison Nance of microWave Project, Margi MacDuff (and family), the staff and FAB volunteers of Huntington Mall, Connie Sandusky, Jonathan Cox and Anthony Smith of Marshall University's Sculpture Program, The Huntington Museum of Art, Astrid Haas, Astrid Blasberg, the faculty and staff of Frankfurt-am-Main Applied Sciences University, the Germany-based flower making team led by Emily Ryan and assistants Tania Fiedler, Sophie Frey, Catherine Pilger, Shari Religa, the France-based flower making team of Ginette, Jacques and Hélène Lorblanchet, and Lisa Kokin.

There's more on my plate for January and the New Year...but for now, I'm content to reflect on a very satisfying and productive 2012. Gratitude is on my mind as the year winds down, and the focus for now.

Wishing you hope, peace and joy this holiday season.

house with four rooms: new work underway

Since returning from ArtPrize, I've been head-down creating new work for my first exhibition here in Germany. This opportunity came about as the result of a small, informal working artists' group that I formed earlier this year. We've been meeting more or less monthly as a way to keep our work moving forward and grounded.

There are three of us - Astrid Haas, Astrid Blasberg, and myself - in this show. Thanks to Astrid B's relationship with her former employer, Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt's University of Applied Sciences), our exhibition is part of the university's culture programming which brings arts onto campus through a series of monthly events.

Our theme is inspired by the title of Rumer Godden's autobiography, A House With Four Rooms:

There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person. -Rumer Godden, A House with Four Rooms

The exhibition, sponsored by the master's degree program in Healthcare Administration & Contracting, will explore the notion of what it means to be a "whole person" through a range of media: artist books, painting, printmaking, and paper sculpture. I am working on four paper dress sculptures, each dress representing one of the four "rooms."

House With Four Rooms

November 14 - December 12, 2012

Opening reception: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 1:00 pm

Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main

University of Applied Sciences

Nibelungenplatz 1

D-60318 Frankfurt am Main

artprize afterglow

The votes have been cast, winners announced, and entries are being deinstalled. ArtPrize 2012 is over, save for what appears to be a walking tour of the finalists and related activities. Love this LA Times article about the first prize winner, Adonna Khare.

With the perspective that time and reflection bring, my mixed feelings about the experience have clarified into something much more positive. The brilliance of it all is that I've really had to embrace exactly what my entry preached: living in shades of gray (e.g., finding more subtle rewards from being there). As my friend Mandy would say, the Universe has a sense of humor.

Mandy Gordon in front of "Bridging Humanity" by Edward CasagrandeThe biggest surprise turned out to be how upside-down I got with my priorities, once onsite. Fear of facing the public's reaction to my entry drove a lot of small-mindedness that I didn't realize was lurking inside of me. There's a certain vulnerability to witnessing thousands of people react to one's work. It's one thing to send something off to a gallery for display, or receive a rejection letter by mail. Quite another to interact directly with those responses.

The range of unfiltered, unedited human response was daunting. Ninety-five percent of people appeared to really enjoy my entry, and many were delighted. Sadly, as I focused on those whose cup of tea is not an extremely feminine paper swan ballerina, my generosity of spirit went missing. The irony is how generous people have been to help get me to Grand Rapids, and support the project once we were there. Heck, there are still people there lending a hand to help with deinstallation.

Thomas the awesomely helpful bellman at The Amway Grand Hotel

So, while I'm not proud of some of my response, the experience has been well worth it. Among many things, I've learned an important paradox: artists must have thick skins, while remaining exquisitely sensitive to the impact one's work can have on others. And that people are entitled to their experiences of the art, regardless of the reactions it fosters. Previously, this knowledge was somewhat theoretical. Now it feels very real.

Another big lesson is how important it is to get back to the work. Instinctively, one of the first things I did upon returning to Germany was focus on my next pieces for an exhibition in November here in Frankfurt. Julia Cameron talks about "keeping the drama on the page," shorthand for advising artists to focus on the work instead of fabricating trouble elsewhere because we're avoiding something difficult.

This is not the last of ArtPrize. There are people to properly thank and contributors to gift with handmade goodies. So while the remainder of 2012 is happily packed with projects and deadlines, the afterglow of ArtPrize will remain.

artprize recap (so far)

Now that I'm back in Germany post-ArtPrize install, I'm trying to gain some perspective on what's happened so far. On balance, I'm happy with the experience, regardless of how far out of my comfort zone most of it has been.

They're in the thick of voting for the top crowd pleasers in Grand Rapids. My entry did not make the first cut, about which I have mixed feelings. My admittedly competitive streak wants to be IN, of course. Who wouldn't want some form of recognition, crazy crowdsourcing and all? There's some terrific company in the Top 100 and I'd like to be one of them.

What would really matter to me is a nod from the jury. The time has passed for that - the five short lists have been selected and announced, with no chance of alteration. The voting for crowd picks continues through this Saturday.

I am genuinely happy for some of the contenders that have received the crowd's nod so far. With others, I'm scratching my head. Big time. I knew going into this that I'd be exposing myself to lord-knows-what, but in the thick of it, it's challenging to sit with.

So I go back to an excerpt from my artist's statement for my entry, Shades of Gray:

The irony of entering an art competition is not lost on me. Is this another act of extremism? Or is it simply having the courage to face something I fear and allow myself to be, regardless of the outcome?

Time will tell. For now, I'm sitting with the discomfort and seeing what happens next.

"I wish I was that swan"

Crowds of people, from groups of school kids to the elderly Amway founder himself Mr. DeVos, have been gathering around my paper sculpture at ArtPrize. It's been fun to witness the range of responses. People have been enthusiastic, curious, fascinated, and a few perplexed. My favorite comment so far was from a young girl who said, "I wish I was that swan." My work is done here.

Many thanks to photographer Terry Johnston who shot my piece yesterday. He's got a great eye and is ArtPrize's guy on the street, capturing some great moments out there.


I leave to return to Germany tomorrow with mixed feelings. Part of me wants to stay and play, immersed in the art stew that is Grand Rapids for the next two weeks. I haven't seen nearly all of the entries, but have some early favorites including It's Not My Fault by Andrew Hawkes, Adonna Khare's Elephants, Motivation by Anne Gates, Norwood Viviano's Cities Departures and Deviation, Sojourn by Andrea Kowch, and Flora Metamorphicae.

Voting continues through September 29. This coming Monday, September 24, the five categories juries (2-D, 3-D, Urban Space, Time/Performance and Venue) will each announce a short list of their top 5. That same night, artprize.org will reveal the dynamic list of artist in the public vote top 25, 50 and 100.

If you happen to be in or near Grand Rapids and can vote, please cast a vote my way!

Vote Code 53118

artprize voting opens

We finished installation for my ArtPrize entry, Shades of Gray, with an hour to spare before the opening deadline. The fun kicked off at 12 noon yesterday as official exhibition centers opened their doors for people to register and start voting for art.

People here in Grand Rapids sure are friendly. The staff at the Amway Grand Hotel have been wonderful, responsive to our every need. From the minute we arrived on Sunday, the Front Office, Banquet Services, and Engineering staff have been terrific.

Massive relief when my shipping crate for ArtPrize arrived from Germany (photo: Donna O'Brien)

They effortlessly moved into place and opened my 200-pound shipping crate. And didn’t blink when we asked for lock cutters and two strong guys to do some last-minute adjustments to the metal armature for my sculpture.

Shades of Gray has been given a perfect location beneath a couple of nice spotlights. Like a dancer on stage, the piece practically glows as you catch a glimpse of it down the length of the Amway’s Pearl Street lobby.

People stopping by to see the work have been kind, expressing interest and asking lots of questions. Here are some my answers:

8,000 paper flower petals

2,000 paper flowers

1,000 paper feathers

600 hours of work

Thank you to WZZM reporter Stacia Kalikoski for including me in her ArtPrize story on last night’s news.

artprize gratitude

Now that the funding campaign has closed, I can't thank everyone enough for the support.

We raised 128% of the funding goal, plus donations made through other channels, for a total of $4205. Thank goodness, since shipping came in above what was budgeted.

The final push got us to the goal and over the top, thanks to:

Paul Emerson, Mary Clark, Leon Lowe (again!), Bill O'Brien, Donna O'Brien (again!), Carole Sebenick, Andrea Howe, Katie Engen, Robyn Polzin, Rennie Beauchamp, Cindy Lowe, Annemarie Mowery & family, Sandy Clinton, Linda Germain, and five other Anonymous contributors.

Because of you, my entry for ArtPrize is safely on its way...I can feed my volunteers...our material costs are covered...and we have plenty of marketing materials to raise visibility for my entry with the crowds about to descend on Grand Rapids.

Rest assured that your thank-you perks for contributing are coming. It will take a little while to pull things together, but I will get them to you! Everyone gets an e-copy of the exhibition catalog, which I'll create after we get good images of the installation and event. Other goodies will need to be made after I return from the US.

In the meantime, I'll post updates here, on Facebook and via Twitter of how it's going in GR. I leave for the US this Friday, my volunteers (Mom, Dad and Mandy Gordon) arrive Saturday, and we begin installation next Monday morning.

artprize: and...she's off!

This week my swan dancer entry for ArtPrize is winging her way to the Grand Rapids, in her very fancy art crate. Even if I'm not flying first class, she is. And while painfully expensive, I'm relieved to have found an excellent company to handle the job.

I suppose it's a rite of passage when one's art requires "serious" handling to ship. Treating my work with care and professionally is an investment. But it's the right thing to do. And now I can fully appreciate why galleries take a hefty commission for representing an artist's work.

Now, more than ever, I am thankful for the backing of 38 different funders through my fundraising campaign. We have surpassed my original goal of $3000 and the total continues to climb. Initially, I started to feel a little greedy...but now I'm simply grateful.

There are 70 hours left to help cover costs. Since shipping is now triple what I had budgeted, every little bit helps. Please give if you can, or help spread the word.

ArtPrize details:

Shades of Gray at ArtPrize©, Grand Rapids, MI, USA. September 19 – October 7, 2012.

Click here to donate.
Click here to visit my ArtPrize page.

artprize: rock the vote!

As ArtPrize draws nearer, there's plenty afoot for the big shindig in Grand Rapids. You can follow the growing list of events here. And if you're anywhere near GR, please register to vote for my entry:

Vote Code: 53118

It is, after all, election season! Dear friend Mandy (and ArtPrize team member) cleverly pointed out the relevance of my entry, Shades of Gray, to the current political culture:

Amidst the flutter of campaign rhetoric and the often extreme positioning of our two parties as they pit themselves against one another, here's something refreshing. Shades of Gray. My dear friend and gifted artist, Kelly O'Brien, seeks through her work to explore what lives between black and white--something I'd love to see more of as the campaign moves forward. She's raising money to fund Shades of Gray's entry into ArtPrize. Check it out. She doesn't have a super pac and needs every dollar of generosity out there.

Thank you, Mandy. And thank you to anyone who gets out there to vote - preferably early and often.

artprize: in the homestretch!

With only days to go until I ship my work from Frankfurt to Grand Rapids, things feel on track. Thanks to a flurry of recent activity, we are in the homestretch on two major fronts: funding and my sculpture.

Contributions came in this week from long-time friends and new supporters. Thank you VERY much to: Merike VanZanten, Diane Wirono, Mary Cook, Sandra Barnett-White, Joe Kopanski, and Arlene & Allen Hatton. With only eight days left to meet my fundraising goal, your support gets us 81% of the way there!

Homestretch: final flower production and dancer's paper crown awaiting Swarovski crystalsEarlier today, I finished the work that will be installed for ArtPrize (a tiny studio celebration ensued, and now I'm back to work). The past few days have been a blur of flower-making to hit my goal of wrapping things up this weekend. There will be finished touches on the other end, but for now, it's ready to go.

"Shades of Gray" sculpture pieces ready to shipI learned on Friday that international art shipping is a lot more involved than I realized. Not only do I need to have custom shipping crates constructed, I must use an airfreight forwarding company because the dimensions of the boxed work are too large for FedEx or UPS to handle the usual way. The good news is that it looks like the combined expenses will be comparable to what is budgeted.

Speaking of budget, if you're considering a contribution, now is the time to do it! To hit my minimum funding goal, I need $550 more by no later than this coming Saturday, September 8. I'm grateful for any amount - so please, support the arts and get a little thank-you gift in return.

A number of contributions have come in through friends of friends, which means that sharing the campaign with your network through Facebook, Twitter and email does work. If you copy and post this link: http://goo.gl/OGJuY, the rest takes care of itself.

ArtPrize details:

Shades of Gray at ArtPrize©, Grand Rapids, MI, USA. September 19 – October 7, 2012.

Click here to donate.
Click here to visit my ArtPrize page.

artprize: steady progress

With two weeks until my work ships from Frankfurt to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize, we're making steady progress on several fronts:

First, a BIG THANK YOU to recent funding campaign contributors for taking us over the $2,000 mark! They are: Alison Sigethy, Susan Trivers, Kenneth O'Brien, Mary Ann Rudy, Laura Rozenberg, and Moira McCauley. Your contributions will go to fund onsite marketing materials and travel expenses for one volunteer. 

The dancer's vellum tutu is finished. I'm pleasantly surprised by how sturdy the vellum becomes once pleated and stacked. The costume is now resting upright on a pillow for me to work on the top surface, and the tutu remains uncrushed.

"Shades of Gray" costume in progress I've started laying out the design for the costume, using hundreds of paper flowers for the pattern. This phase tends to progress intuitively and quickly, once a general direction emerges.

Using paper flowers to design "Shades of Gray" costume

Work on a metal stand for the dancer has begun, too. Pennsylvania craftsman Gary Rider is creating a minimalist black metal frame with graceful "legs" to support the costume and head. More later on Gary with photos of his work, as things progress.

It feels great to have family, friends, and new acquaintances involved in this project. The moral and financial support really make a difference. At 57% of the way in, the campaign is 66% funded through IndieGoGo, plus another $225 directly. If you are in a position to contribute to Shades of Gray, please do. Every little bit signals your support, boosting me through the day as I work in the studio.

ArtPrize details:

Shades of Gray at ArtPrize©, Grand Rapids, MI, USA. September 19 – October 7, 2012.

Click here to donate.
Click here to visit my ArtPrize page.

artprize: spotlight on giving back

Exactly one month from today, ArtPrize 2012 in Grand Rapids officially opens! If everything goes smoothly, we'll be putting the finishing touches on my piece, Shades of Gray, in the Amway Grand's lobby.

The work is coming along nicely now. I am currently screenprinting and hand-folding hundreds of sheets of vellum into tiny fans to build the tutu of my dancer's costume. A professional dancer's tutu is typically made with thirteen layers of tulle, which is my design for the paper version.

Screenprinted vellum folded into tiny fans Building the tutu for the dancer's costume

Generous contributions to the cause have also continued to roll in. At 37% of the way in, the campaign is 55% funded through IndieGoGo, plus another $225 directly. Thank you so much for your generous donations to Elizabeth Smiley, Emily Ryan, Sas Colby, and Donna O'Brien. Your funds mean that I can now cover expenses related to materials for the metal fabricator who is welding a frame for Shades of Gray, and important marketing materials to create visibility in Grand Rapids during the three-week exhibition.

Astro, rescued from Friends of Homeless AnimalsOne thing that I've been asked is what I would do if I won an award at ArtPrize (I'm thinking positively!). An important priority for me is giving back. One of my favorite causes is animal welfare.

Several years ago, we rescued our dog Astro from a no-kill shelter, Friends of Homeless Animals. They keep animals alive, no matter how long placement takes. They also "sweep" high-kill centers (such as Prince George's County, where Astro was), and move the most promising animals to FoHA in Northern Va.

Two other organizations are the Animal Rescue Fund and Second Chance Wildlife Center. Both fill important voids. ARF raises funding for shelters that don't receive government funding, and SCWC rehabilitates injured or sick wildlife before releasing them back to nature.

I have happily received several "I'm back in the woods!" postcards from injured squirrels and birds that I'd taken to SCWC for treatment.


If you are in a position to contribute to Shades of Gray, even just a little, please do. Every dollar and euro help defray project and volunteer costs, while getting the team one step closer to having a shot at an award with funds to give back.

Thank you to those of you who are spreading the word, as well!

ArtPrize details:

Shades of Gray at ArtPrize©, Grand Rapids, MI, USA. September 19 – October 7, 2012.

Click here to donate.
Click here to visit my ArtPrize page.

artprize: a great funding start & flowers made in france

It's been a productive week, and we even hosted a house guest in the mix. My dear French host-sister, Hélène Lorblanchet, was here from Montpellier. We've been "family" since my Junior Year Abroad, a long time ago. Very lucky for me, she seems to love making paper flowers!

Not only did she make enough this week to cover my dancer's costume bodice, but she returned home with materials to continue flower production for my next project, A House With Four Rooms, in November. It means a lot to me that she's involved in these projects, and "Handmade in France" has a lovely ring to it.

"Shades of Gray" (in progress) by Kelly O'Brien for ArtPrize 2012

My ArtPrize funding campaign launched this week, as well. We're off to a great start! At 17% of the way in, the campaign is 46% funded. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your generous donations to Ian Lowe, Stacey Cohen, Leon Lowe, Kieu Lam, Gretchen Schermerhorn, Jose Dominguez, Louisette Winkel, Jennifer McQuistion, and Anonymous. Your funds mean that I can now cover my overseas shipping.

There is much more to cover, however. Even if I hit my $3,000 funding goal, I am still carrying a lot of the cost myself. If you are in a position to contribute (and want some art in exchange), please do. And if you can help spread the word through your contacts, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, or mailing list, all the better.

ArtPrize details:

Shades of Gray at ArtPrize©, Grand Rapids, MI, USA. September 19 – October 7, 2012.

Click here to donate.
Click here to visit my ArtPrize page.

get a little art for yourself

This September, I'll be exhibiting my work at the world's biggest art competition, ArtPrize©, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's an exciting opportunity, to say the least. I've been working for months on my entry, Shades of Gray.

Along with this opportunity comes investment, most of which I am covering myself. So while I'm asking for a little help from family and friends, there's something in it for you: original art.

In exchange for a small donation, I'm offering thank you gifts:

exhibition catalogs

handmade painted paper flowers







origami long stem roses

handmade blank cards

screenprinted fine art papers

eternal gratitude

If you'd like to join in the fun (and get a little something for yourself), please make a quick visit to my ArtPrize funding page. I'm using a secure micro-funding platform called IndieGoGo, available to private and non-profit fundraising efforts worldwide.

ArtPrize details:

Shades of Gray at ArtPrize©, Grand Rapids, MI, USA. September 19 – October 7, 2012.

Click here to donate.
Click here to visit ArtPrize.
Thank you in advance for your support!

the zen of paper flower making

This is what I'm up to, these days. One petal at a time, I am hand-cutting, hand-painting, hand-assembling, hand sewing, and hand-gluing many, many paper flowers for my ArtPrize paper sculpture installation. It is aMAZing how long this all takes.

It's forcing me to slow down. To focus on the next task at hand, instead of racing (mentally and actually) to the million other things that I think I should be doing.

artprize 2012, here we come!

Shades of Gray (ArtPrize 2012)In September of this year, I'll be doing something that's waaay out of my comfort zone: ArtPrize. Here's how the ArtPrize website defines the event:

The ArtPrize® event is an international art exhibition and social experiment.

It brings together an unprecedented conversation and critical dialog between the art world and the general public. The top prize in 2012, which is decided by public vote, is $200,000. A panel of arts professionals will decide our new, $100,000 Grand Juried Prize.

All prizes combined in 2012 total $560,000, the world’s largest total cash prize for art.

Why, you ask, am I doing this? Because I'm afraid of competition. Seriously, what better way to face down the fear of competition than to get involved in the race for the world's biggest art prize? Ok, no - it's not really why I'm doing it, but it's in the mix.

My entry is called Shades of Gray, a paper sculpture installation of a swan dancer, inspired by Swan Lake's Odette/Odile characters. Here's what I had to say in my artist statement:

Swan Lake’s Odette and Odile embody the dichotomy of white and black, light and dark. Yet inside each of us exists a little bit of both. We are complex, changing beings, not simply good or bad.

This piece is about a more nuanced approach: living in shades of gray. What if there were more options than all or nothing, yes or no, win or lose? What if we had a range of options for happiness?

Living in shades of gray is my current answer to this challenge. The irony of entering the world’s largest art competition is not lost on me. Is this yet another act of extremism? Or is it simply having the courage to face something I fear and allow myself to be, regardless of the outcome?

Hundreds of hand-cut and sewn swan feathers in productionI will attempt to chronicle both my entry and the experience as things proceed.

This week, I'm up to my neck in hand-cut, hand-sewn paper feathers for my dancer's head.

But that's not what's daunting. The logistics of getting everything and everyone to Grand Rapids is a whole other story.

It will be worth it, though. Thanks to the fine folks at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel -  smack in the middle of ArtPrize action - I'll have a prime spot in their grand lobby for Shades of Gray.

I have faith that it will all come together, espcially since I'll have my mom Donna, and über-friend Mandy on the team again.

For now, I'm happy to be past the entry deadline without backing out!

seeds are sprouting

Image: The Utilitarian FranchiseMy friend Joe emailed me last week with a gentle nudge: "What, no blog posts?" He's right - how did it get to be nearly five months since my last post?! A sign, perhaps, that I've been happily productive in a low-key way.

Also a factor has been the sheer time it's taken for me to settle into life here as an expat, find my bearings in a completely unknown arts world, and establish a rhythm for my daily studio practice.

Quiet frankly, I had no idea what it meant to be a full-time "professional" artist, something that this time abroad affords me to explore. Not that I fully know now, but I'm beginning to gain a sense of what this takes.

It's harder than I thought. Yes, the work is demanding. But that's not the hard part. The big challenges are showing up every day - regardless of inspiration or motivation - to just do the work. And facing down the fear of putting myself out there.

It was very naive of me to think that an artist enters the studio constantly fueled by endless inspiration. And clueless of me to disregard the inner Critic who sits waiting for me any time I do something that feels like a creative or professional stretch.

No different, really, than what I faced in my professional consulting work back in the states. And those business skills definitely help now. But the stakes feel much higher now, especially as good things start to happen. Julia Cameron captures this feeling well in her book Finding Water:

When the odds start to shift, when the dominoes are falling in the right direction, we can suddenly feel out of control. Where before we knew how we felt - frustrated - now we feel something worse - vulnerable. And we hate to feel vulnerable. Once more our dreams have been nudged awake. Once more our dreams have the capacity to break our hearts.

Seeds that I've been planting are beginning to sprout. This thrills and terrifies me. There are some opportunities on the horizon that feel pretty awesome. But I'm learning that the sanest thing I can do is just show up every day and make art. Do the next right thing. Protect my time from things that could easily distract me from what keeps me grounded: being in the studio. Connect with people here. And keep putting myself out there.

At the end of this month, it is one year that we've been here. In the past, major transitions have taken about a year for me to assimilate, so I'm right on schedule. Bloom where planted? Why, yes, don't mind if I do.

alpine installation art

"Horizon Field" by Antony Gormley, Vorarlberg, AustriaWe just returned from a week of alpine activities in the breathtakingly beautiful Vorarlberg region of Austria. The last thing I expected to encounter in this winter wonderland was installation art, but encounter it we did.

Antony Gormley's Horizon Field is a "landscape intervention" comprised of 100 life-sized cast iron human figures, all placed 6,689 feet above sea level in an area of over 93 square miles. The sculptures were scattered throughout the areas we skied, bearing silent witness to the extraordinary snowfall of this particular winter.

Mother Nature seemed to play along. Some sculptures were buried up to their shoulders in snow. Others were surrounded by ski tracks, left by visitors gliding by for a closer look.

Antony Gormley's "Horizon Field," (embellished)Humans played along, as well. I had mixed feelings when I visited this festively decorated sculpture. Fun? Sure. Disrespectful of the work? Perhaps.

Apparently the local authorities think so too, making regular runs to patrol for and remove these human interventions.

For more images, details, and an FAQ with the artist, click here.

Gormley's two-year installation remains in place through April 2012.

For a comprehensive list of things to do in the region, check out Jacky Miller's blog post 100 Best Things to Do in Austria.