The Gentle Lady: Functional art through a kinetic sculpture
"The Gentle Lady" comprises of a 50-foot floating wing suspended from the garage and flies - rising, falling and rolling in response to the wind. Installation began in late March 2017 and was publicly unveiled on April 28.
In his Leawood studio, Munson created the concept, drew the plans and fabricated the custom mechanisms that control the wings’ response to wind. He collaborated with Metal One, a metal fabrication firm in Lee’s Summit, to develop the cutting-edge wing sections. Architects Joe Jimenez and Josh Hartman, along with site superintendent Josh Scheuerman of Hermanos Design collaborated on the artwork, assisted with the installation and brought a depth of experience fusing art into architecture.
"The Gentle Lady" was inspired by his life-long history with remote control sailplanes (gliders) and competitive stunt kites. The Gentle Lady title is derived from the name of his first remote control glider which he built with his father and flew when he was ten. Modeled after a sailplane, the enormous 50-foot wing is divided into four sections that visually create a continuous graphical line that is interrupted when the individual wing sections separate in response to wind currents. Described as a “kinetic sculpture,” it is installed on the parking garage’s south façade and two smaller fixed wings are affixed to the building’s west façade.
“The goal of this project was to create a work of art that focused on a theme of airflow, which is essential to allow ventilation to the garage structure,” said Munson. “I was additionally inspired by the Corrigan Station project for its level of design integrity, attention to detail and the project’s overall contribution to the vibrancy of Kansas City."
The goal of the Corrigan Station developers was to showcase the creativity and vibrancy of the Crossroads Arts District and support the local arts community.
Artist Joe Munson (right) and Architect Joe Jimenez from Hermanos Design introduce "The Gentle Lady" at the art unveiling on April 28, 2017.