March 23, 2009

Giant sculpture airlifted over Indiana

Officials with the Indianapolis Museum of Art said a massive sculpture on loan to a nearby school had to be lifted by air to its destination.

Richard McCoy, objects conservator for the museum, said Sasson Soffer's 1973 sculpture East Gate/West Gate, which measures 40 feet high and 30 feet long, was too massive to move by truck to the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus Sunday so a helicopter was called in to hoist the art into the sky, the Indianapolis Star reported Monday.

We could have taken it apart and put it on a truck, but that would have been even more complicated, McCoy said. He said officials calculated that the aerial move was also cheaper than the more grounded alternative.

He said experts had no doubt that the structure was sound enough for the trip through the sky.

It's stainless steel. That's a pretty strong material, McCoy said.

Onlookers said the flying sculpture looked like two giant pairs of hoop earrings being carried by the chopper.

It was amazing. I've never seen anything quite like it, said Austin Brown, 23, a senior at the university.