At the time the twin office towers designed by Marc Goldstein of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill were being constructed, Robert Maguire, principal of Maguire Thomas Partners, the project's developer, was a member of the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Maguire invited Stephanie Barron, curator of 20th Century art at the museum and Earl Powell, then the director of the museum, to select art for what is now the Wells Fargo Center. One of the works they commissioned on behalf of the developer was "Sequi."(1)
Confirming Robert Hughes's observation that "[A]ll Nancy Graves's sculpture is about nature",(2) "Sequi" consists of bronze casting of molds "made of enlarged clay positives" of natural forms(3)--a banana blossom, a deerfoot fern, a lobster claw, a seed pod and vines.(4) Suzanne Muchnic, art critic at the Los Angeles Times, who interviewed Graves when "Sequi" was dedicated in 1986, described the fabrication process: "Rubber-coated plaster waste molds were made of the clay forms, which were then cast in bronze and assembled. Welded points had to chased. Then the whole piece was sandblasted to remove impurities and etched to make it porous enough to receive paint."(5) After priming, Graves painted it with polychrome weather-proof paint(6) in two days with the help of three assistants and four paint mixers."
"Sequi" is derived from "Et Sec," a smaller work Graves executed in 1983. She stabilized the 2,300 pound "Sequi" by extending a vine in her earlier design to create a fourth leg. Though Graves described "Sequi" as her "most significant outdoor sculpture"(7) the brilliant colors that were present at its dedication are now faded.
1 "Crocker Center Adds Major Piece to Round Out Sculpture Collection," Press Release, Casey & Sayre, Inc., February 20, 1986.
2 "The Sculpture of Nancy Graves: A Catalogue Raisonne," Hudson Hills Press, New York, c. 1987, p. 15.
3 Ibid, p. 110.
4 Ibid, p. 158.
5 "A Nancy Graves Sculpture Grows at Crocker Center," by Suzanne Muchnic, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1986, Pt. VI, p. 1.
6 The Sculpture of Nancy Graves, p. 156.
7 Muchnic, op. cit.
The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, January 1999.