Downtown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson (based in San Francisco, CA)
Ursa Major 2016
—pennies, steel, Styrofoam, and concrete; Collection of Judy and Steven Gluckstern —
Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson met on a dance floor at Burning Man in 2008 and fell in love. Though she lived in Canada and he in the U.S., they began a long-distance romance and artistic collaboration, inspired by the DIY, can-do attitude fundamental to Burning Man. The couple was married at Burning Man in 2011 and Lisa moved to California in 2013.
In their working relationship, Lisa, a filmmaker, develops a concept for a piece while Robert, a welder, determines how to execute it. Their work with pennies began in 2013 as the Canadian government began phasing out the coin. The durability and metaphor of the penny appealed to Lisa, as did its metaphorical connection to her journey, so she designed Penny the Goose, a Canada goose made of Canadian and U.S. coins. The Fergusons, with the help of friends, went on to create the much larger, penny-covered grizzly bears Ursa Major (2016) and Ursa Mater (2017). Ursa Major integrates 170,000 pennies and takes its name from the constellation, inviting those standing below the sculpture to look up at the night sky. The tactility, whimsicality, and absurdity of these painstakingly constructed sculptures have inspired a sense of awe and delight in Burning Man attendees of all ages.
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Do not climb on sculpture
From the Desert to DC
This sculpture is one of six outdoor installations presented as part of No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, a takeover of the entire Renwick Gallery that extends into the Golden Triangle neighborhood.
For a map of artworks, artist interviews, and more information go to:
Erected 2018 by Smithsonian Institution, Renwick Gallery Smithsonian American Art Museum, Golden Triangle, Lyft. (Marker Number 4.)
Location. 38° 54.121′ N, 77° 2.602′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 19th Street NW south of K Street NW, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20006, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (about Laura Kimpton with Jeff Schombert (based San Francisco, CA) (about 500 feet away); Foon Sham (about 500 feet away); "The Seven Buildings" (about 600 feet away); Home of James Monroe (about 700 feet away); Kate Raudenbusch (based New York, NY) (approx. 0.2 miles away); Edward R. Murrow (approx. 0.2 miles away); Union Methodist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown.
Also see . . . No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. (Submitted on March 28, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
Categories. • Air & Space • Animals • Arts, Letters, Music • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 20, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 28, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 102 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 28, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 16, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.