Anita GLESTA, Federal Census Building. Washington D.C. (USA)

Anita GLESTA, Federal Census Building. Washington D.C. (USA)
Covering over 7-acres around the Federal Census Building, Anita Glesta's large-scale landscape intervention is now permanently installed. Commissioned by the GSA Art in Architecture Program, the public art project is a meditation on the notion of counting and order with a global perspective.
Like Glesta's other public works, the Census project explores the integration of the physical and social, using sculpture and landscaping to foment connection between people and the land. The large-scale work includes a winding path and a series of reliefs that playfully disrupt concepts of order and categorization associated with counting. A variety of numerical systems, including Native American and Sumerian appear throughout the work, on the walls, benches and the sculptural mounds that appear as though they are rose up from the earth. Oversized numbers are laid horizontally on the earth, so that the symbols may serve as places to sit.
Glesta eschews the decorative and seductive qualities often found in public art in favor of a more defiant tone. Her public works take into account the interaction of time, place, and people, and have a political undertone aimed at resolution and integration. In the Census project she has transcended the traditional use of numerical symbols, eliciting mythic elements from these usually straight-forward symbols. The resulting atmosphere is both mystical and accessible, intensifying individuals' connection to the physical environment surrounding them.
For this project, Glesta was commissioned by the U.S. General Services Admission Art in Architecture Program. GSA chooses the nation's leading artists to create large-scale works for new federal buildings. They reserve a portion of the construction cost of each new federal building for these commissions, and compose a panel of art professionals, civic and community representatives, and the project's lead design architect to choose the artist.
Anita Glesta's work has been exhibited extensively in New York City, beginning in 1984 with her solo show at White Columns Gallery. Her work has been shown at Sculpture Center, the Queens Museum, Brooklyn Museum and galleries in NYC prior to moving to Sydney in 1994. Since her return to NYC in 2000, Glesta has created site-specific works in NYC and throughout Europe and Australia.
As an artist in the public realm Anita Glesta has worked on several large-scale international projects. Among these projects is a three-acre park in the center of downtown Sydney, which was completed in 2000 created in collaboration with a team of landscape architects. This permanent park is known as the Yurong Water Gardens of Cook and Phillip Park. Sydney City Council granted the commission.
Other environmental commissions have included works for two botanic gardens in Sydney, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Mount Annan Botanic Gardens, 1997 and 1999 respectively.