Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- This is an abstract, contemporary sculpture that appears to be both heavy and weightless. The use of metal as the medium gives the sculpture visual weight. Its height and shape create the illusion that the larger form is balancing on top of the smaller one.
- The sculpture is made from Cor-Ten steel (also known as “weathering steel”). It is a steel alloy that develops a rusted patina over time when exposed to the elements. The rusted patina actually protects the metal from corroding. It was originally designed for railroad coal wagons.
- Union 060719 is part of Haley’s Correction Line series. He grew up in Kansas, on a farm that was located on a road named Correction Line.
Born in 1961 and growing up on a farm in rural Kansas, artist Hoss Haley often saw abandoned and rusting farm machines. When discussing how his early life in the Midwest impacts his art today, Haley shares, quote, “Whenever I go back to Kansas, I see the decay — there are fewer grain elevators, there are fewer farmsteads. If they are occupied at all, there’s a double-wide sitting next to the farm that’s falling in. These are monuments to that history.”
Aside from his childhood, Haley’s time as an architectural blacksmith’s apprentice in New Mexico likely further cemented his artistic leanings toward industrial materials and fabrication methods.
Union 060719 is part of Haley’s Correction Line series. The sculpture was created in 2019, and it was given to the Museum in 2020 by Renee and Ralph Snyderman in honor of the Museum’s now-retired Director of Planning Daniel Gottlieb.
The title is a reference to the Land Ordinance of 1785, a law passed by the United States Congress under the Articles of Confederation. The ordinance sought to provide regulation and clarity regarding how land west of the Appalachian Mountains was to be lawfully surveyed and sold. The ordinance also allowed the federal government to assert claim over large tracts of land, claims many of which are contested to this day.
The Land Ordinance of 1785 called for public land to be divided into six-mile square parcels that could be bought, sold, or traded. To divide the land into these parcels, the Public Land Survey got underway the same year the ordinance was passed.
To measure the parcels accurately, federal surveyors used the east and west latitude points known as “correction lines” to reorient their measurements every 24 miles and account for the natural curvature of the earth.
Union 060719 consists of two rectangular prisms that have been vertically stacked on top of each other. The ends of each prism that meet have been tapered into rounded shapes, making it an ideal representation of the “correction lines” that inspired it.
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