Double L Eccentric Gyratory II ~ 6th & J

“Choreography of Steel” is how Architectural Digest describes the work of kinetic sculptor George Rickey (1). This piece by Rickey on the corner of 6th & J can appear, at first glance, to be another simple, static sculpture on a downtown corner. Stop and look for a moment, and you will see that the two L shapes move and shift in interesting ways:

The movement is slow, smooth, and unpredictable, evoking a mesmerizing quality of repetition and variation that captivates the viewer; like ocean waves, Rickey’s work responds to the same natural laws of motion and captivates the viewer with the same mesmerizing quality of repetition and variation. (Within the Poetry of Motion: George Rickey on

Watch the Double L move in this 3 minute video I filmed with my iPhone the other day:

Rickey built his sculptures to allow movement using gravity and two principles of physics, equilibrium and momentum (rather than motor-driven movement). With his use of counterweights and bearings, the sculptures move with the wind and the pull of gravity. He used specific design elements, such as the compound pendulum and weighting internally with lead, to achieve the movement patterns he desired. (2)

An article by Carla Hanzal in quotes Rickey describing the shapes and movement he sought in creating his art:

“The object was for the pieces to perform as they could, and I wanted their movement to be slow, unhampered, deliberate—but at the same time unpredictable. As for shape, I wanted only the most ordinary shapes—simple, hackneyed, geometrical. I wanted whatever eloquence there was to come out of the performance of the piece—never out of the shape itself.” (3)

Rickey, quoted in Hanzal’s article, describes the element of “planned indeterminacy” (chance) in his work, and he relates that to how our understanding of the dimensions of reality have expanded over history:

The artist notes that in the year of his birth “there were only three dimensions: after Einstein, time became a fourth. If there is a fifth, surely it is chance…Planned indeterminacy is a component of my sculpture.” (4)

Sacramento’s Double L Eccentric Gyratory has several identical siblings in other cities including:

Cleavland has one-upped all of these cities with its TRIPLE L Eccentric Gyratory (click link to see a photo of the Triple L).

The best way to experience the amazing array of Rickey’s kinetic sculptures is through videos and images; click below to explore via Google Images and YouTube:

Title: Double L Eccentric Gyratory II
Artist: George Rickey
Date: 1981
Media: Steel
Location: 6th & J

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