Sunday, November 22, 2009

Carl Nesjar's Anchorage Ice Fountain

I loved the concept of the ice fountain at Loussac Library when it was first proposed.  It's a fountain designed to work all year - in the winter creating interesting ice formations depending on the water flow and weather.  But for various reasons, it never quite worked out that way.  ArtSceneAK wrote in 2002

FROZEN ASSET ICE-NOTCarl Nesjar's Ice Fountain has been neither fountain nor ice since shortly after its  installation at the Anchorage Loussac Library in mid-town.   The stainless steel tubing is intended to drip water during the winter to build sheets of ice in a spectacular way.   Problems with plumbing and process in the underground connection between fountain and library have kept this world class sculpture from reaching its intended potential.   A joint project of MOA % for Art and the Silver Anniverary Commission, this piece has a forlorn look about it. In other parts of the country, folks run hoses up a tall pole in their front yard and leave it on into winter, then shine yard lights at the result.   Seems simple enough, and certainly Nesjar's international reputation is not dependent on the use Anchorage makes of his interesting creation. During the summer, flowers are planted. During the winter, shouldn't the sidewalk be shoveled? Nesjar collaborated with Picasso, can't our civic and public entities combine to make Ice Fountain the defiant salute to winter it is meant to be?
A private group, as I recall (google's not being its reliable retriever self on this one) raised about $50,000 and in the last couple of years sometime had the fountain renovated.  Finally, it's doing what it should have been doing all these years.  These are pictures from tonight when we dropped some books off.

Most people have no idea who the creator of the fountain was.  His name is Carl Nesjar.

From Värmland:
Carl Nesjar, who is one of Norway’s most famous artists, was commissioned by Pablo Picasso to build his monumental concrete sculpture in Kristinehamn’s archipelago in 1965. Nesjar is a versatile artist and is perhaps most famous internationally for the 15 year period in which he was responsible for erecting a number of Picasso’s works of art throughout the world, and for his own all-year round fountains made of steel and aluminium. 
Here's a list of the fountains by Carl Nesjar (from Galleridobag)
·         Landbrukshøgskolen på Ås, 1971
·         Lysaker,  Oslo 1971
·         Larvik 1972
·         Flaine, Haute-Savoie, Frankrike 1975
·         Prismefontene, Moss Rådhus 1980
·         Vinter Olympiske Leker, Lake Placid, USA 1980
·         Kragerø 1983
·         State University College, Buffalo, USA 1984
·         Loussac Library, Anchorage, Alaska 1988
·         Sommer Olympiske Leker, Seoul, Korea 1988
·         Braathens Safe, Fornebu 1989
·         Investa, Fyllingsdalen, Bergen 1990
·         Isbjørn, Vinter Olympiske Leker, Albertville, Frankrike 1990
·         Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 1991
·         Bodø Kommune, 1994
·         Lillehammer Vinter Olympiske Leker, Vikingskipet, Hamar 1994

·         Radiumhospitalets svømmebasseng, Oslo 1994
·         Statoil Forskningssenter, Rotvoll, Trondheim 1997
·         Bjørn Braathens privat hus, Mols, Danmark 1999
·         Radiumhospitalets inngang, Oslo 2001
·         Kristinehamn, Sverige 2006
·         Drammen 2007

The building in the background on the left with the penthouse lights is the JL Tower.  There's a closer picture below.

You can get more information on JL Towers from Anchoragejoop.   Chugach Electric  [whoops, Anon pointed out it was Chugach Alaska, not Electric] Alaska is one of the tenants of that building.  Maybe someone can explain to me the energy message involved with all the lights. [The energy questions are still relevant, but not as directly.]


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the history behind this piece. Fasinating background on the artist. I will spend some time looking at this other works.

  2. This is great artwork it is very different from most art that I see... Thanks for sharing. I stumbled across your blog through another blog.

  3. Thanks for your blog on this... takes me back to the days when the arts scene here was so vibrant. I shared a studio at the time with Robert Pfitzenmeier (who did the sculpture in front of the museum), and he helped Carl with the fountain, so Joe and I got a chance to meet Carl and get to know him.. His work on paper is also beautiful. He is inspired by nature, as am I. cs

  4. Steve, Chugach Electric does NOT lease space in JL Towers. Chugach Alaska, a Native corporation, does.

  5. Thanks all for your comments. All these years, I've never seen it looking this good.

    Anon 2:53, thanks for catching that.

  6. its spectacular idea , i like it so much , thanks for its exposition.
    greatings from Mexico


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