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Sculptural Forms

November-December 2005

She Changes, by artist Janet Echelman ’87, is a giant multilayered mesh net suspended above a traffic circle next to a beachside promenade on the Atlantic Ocean in Porto, Portugal. The permanent public sculpture — which was still being installed at press time — spans 300 feet and stands 164 feet high. Steel poles, painted red and white to echo area lighthouses and smokestacks, support a 20-ton steel ring from which the three-tiered net is hung. The membranous sculpture appears to float at the whim of the winds, constantly assuming different forms and colors as the day unfolds. At night, the netting is illuminated. “Wind patterns are usually invisible to the human eye,” says Echelman. “My sculpture makes visible the choreography of the wind.” The materials used also reflect the site’s history as a fishing and industrial center. Echelman has seen her public scultures installed around the world, including recent works in Spain and the Netherlands, as well as at Harvard. She and her team of architects and engineers won the September 11th Memorial Competition for Hoboken, New Jersey — just across the river from where the World Trade Center towers stood. The memorial is designed as an island in the Hudson River with a hole cut through its center; groundbreaking is set for September 11, 2006. Echelman splits her time between New York City and Boston, where she lives with her husband, David Feldman, M.B.A. ’94, and their two children.