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Janet Echelman is an American artist specializing in public art installations and sculpture. She graduated from Harvard University in 1987 with Highest Honors in Visual Studies. From 1988-1993 Echelman lived and worked in Bali, Indonesia before returning to America. She created her first permanent installation, She Changes, in 2005 in Porto, Portugal. According to Sculpture Magazine, her work in Portugal charts "a bold new direction for sculpture" and is "one of the truly significant public artworks in recent years."[1]

Major works

Echelman was first inspired to use nets in her work from her experience in India while on Fulbright Lectureship. This resulted in her first public sculpture series, Bellbottoms, in Mahaballipuram, India. She first learned netting techniques from local fisherman in Mahaballipuram. Most of her sculptures since have been both machine- and hand-woven from weather- and UV-resistant fibers. In the last five years, using those fibers, she has built several permanent installations in Portugal, Phoenix, and British Columbia.

1.26, 2010

Janet Echelman was selected for the single art commission for the July 2010 inaugural Biennial of the Americas in Denver. Titled 1.26 in reference to the 1.26µs shortening of the day caused by 2010 Chile earthquake, the sculpture hangs in Civic Center Park in July 2010.[2]
Water Sky Garden

Water Sky Garden, 2009-10

Water Sky Garden was built in June 2009 at the Richmond Olympic Oval, Richmond, British Columbia, an official venue of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. The total area is approximately 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2). The commission takes run-off water from the facility's 5-acre (20,000 m2) roof and transforms it into a water garden intersected by curved pedestrian bridges, red netted "sky lanterns", and water-aeration system. The planting elements absorb heavy metals, prevent siltation, remove other impurities from water, provide native habitat for birds, mammals and aquatic life, and recreate an authentic native wetland garden experience for visitors.
Her Secret Is Patience

Her Secret Is Patience, 2009

Built in April 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona, Her Secret Is Patience is 145 feet (44 m) height, 353 feet (108 m) wide and 289 feet (88 m) deep. It is constructed of painted galvanized steel, changing sets of high-tenacity polyester braided twine netting, and color lighting. The sculpture is intended to make visible to the human eye the patterns of desert winds. During the day, sunlight projects patterned shadow drawings onto the ground and pedestrians on their daily paths. At night, the colored illumination gradually changes color through the seasons. The large three-dimensional multi-layered form is created by a combination of hand and machine knotting of high-tenacity colored polyester. The project had a budget of USD $2.5 million.[3]

Author Prof. Patrick Frank writes "...most Arizonans look on the work with pride: this unique visual delight will forever mark the city of Phoenix just as the Eiffel Tower marks Paris."[4]

The Arizona Republic editorialized: "This is just what Phoenix need: a distinctive feature that helps create a real sense of place."

Expanding Club, 2007

Expanding Club was created for a show at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City, New York. It was made of machine- and hand-knotted nylon net held up with steel fittings.
She Changes

She Changes, 2005

She Changes is a waterfront sculpture commissioned by the governments of Porto and Matosinhos, Portugal. The sculpture is 50 meters tall with a diameter of 150 meters. It was constructed from approximately 2 tons of Tenara PTFE architectural fiber. The sculpture is located in Praça Cidade S. Salvador, on the border of the cities of Porto and Matosinhos in Portugal. The installation had a budget of USD $1.6 million.

Target Swooping V, 2004

Target Swooping V was in built in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The sculpture was 60 feet (18 m) high, 130 feet (40 m) wide and 45 feet (14 m) deep. The hand-knotted, synthetic net connected the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal to the waterfront.

Roadside Shrine II, 2002

Located on New York City's West Side Highway, this Roadside Shrine II was affixed to piers 90 and 88 of the New York Cruise Terminal in New York City. It was constructed with vinyl-coated polyethylene mesh of varying dimensions. The sculpture was funded by The Florence Lynch Gallery.

Target swooping down...Bullseye!, 2001

Located in Feria de Madrid, Madrid, Spain, Target swooping down...Bullseye! was created for the ARCO Exposition. It is 135 feet (41 m) in diameter and 45 feet (14 m) tall. The sculpture was made of hand-knotted nylon affixed to the rim of the central atrium. The project was funded by the Florence Lynch Gallery in New York.

Upcoming Projects

Echelman is currently working on commissions for the San Francisco Airport, Terminal 2, the Matthew Knight Arena for the University of Oregon, and the Federal Courthouse in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Hoboken September 11 Memorial

This project is currently in construction. It will be built on the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey, and was selected by the Hoboken 9/11 Memorial Fund Design Competition.

Awards [5]

Year in Review Award – Public Art Network
2010 Her Secret Is Patience
Artist Fellowship – Massachusetts Cultural Council
2009 Sculpture/Installation Artist Fellowship
Artist Fellowship – Massachusetts Cultural Council
2009 Crafts Artist Fellowship
Best Public Art – Phoenix New Times[6]
2009 Her Secret Is Patience
Art In Public Places – Valley Forward Association
2009 Her Secret Is Patience
Henry Crown Fellowship – The Aspen Institute
2006-09 1st artist in Leadership Award Program
International Achievement Award of Excellence in Architectural Structures – Industrial Fabrics Association International
2006 She Changes
Year in Review Award – Public Art Network
2005 She Changes
Lily Auchincloss Fellow – New York Foundation for the Arts
2006 Category: Architecture & Environmental Structures
Major Visual Artist Grant – Japan Foundation
2001 Sculpture in Kyoto, Japan
National Institute of Design
1996-97 Fulbright Award
One-Year Graduate Arts Scholarship – Rotary International

Private life

Echelman was first inspired to use nets in her work from her experience in India while on Fulbright Lectureship. This resulted in her first public sculpture, Bellbottoms, in Mahaballipuram, India.

1988–1993 Janet Echelman lived and worked in Bali, Indonesia.

Presently, she resides in Brookline, MA with her husband, David Feldman, and their two children.


1. ^ Sculpture Magazine Vol. 2 No. 6 July/August 2005
2. ^ "Biennial of the Americas Temporary Art Installation on Janet Echelman's website". Janet Echelman, Inc.
3. ^ Newsweek[dead link] USD $2.5 million
4. ^ Frank, Patrick (2011). Prebles' ARTFORMS. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0205797539.
5. ^ "Janet Echelman's CV". Janet Echelman, Inc.. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
6. ^ "Phoenix Best Public Art". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2010-01-15.

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