After 40 years, it’s time for a touch-up

By on April 24, 2014
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Complex Vision, a sculpture that has adorned the Callahan Eye Hospital for nearly 40 years, is coming down for renovation. The sculpture was created by famed artist Yaacov Agam, often called the father of kinetic art. Over the years, it has faded, leaving the once vibrant colors washed-out and dull.

“Dr. Alston Callahan wanted to have something very pleasing to the eye for patients who have had eye surgery,” said Brian Spraberry, CEO of Callahan Eye Hospital. “He wanted them to see what they were missing. This particular sculpture, as you move from west to east or east to west, changes colors; but over time the sun has aged it and oxidized a lot of the panels, and it has lost its luster.

Art Creations and Renovations, a company specializing in restoring Agam works, is handling the renovation. Crews disassembled the 30-by-30-foot foot sculpture and shipped it to their studio in Florida.

Complex Vision is made up of 69 aluminum panels, each 9 feet, 9 inches long, 13 inches wide, and weighing roughly 50 pounds. The panels will be stripped of the old paint and acid-washed. Etching primer and sealers will be applied, before being repainted with the original colors approved by Agam himself. A clear coat that will protect the sculpture for years will then be applied.

The Callahan Eye Hospital has raised over three quarters of the money needed to fund the restoration. Those interested in donating to the project can contact Annee Cook at anneecook@uabmc.edu.

“So far we’ve been able to raise almost 80 percent of the funds to pay for its revision, but we’re still looking for donations and would love to have anyone who is interested in supporting the arts contribute,” said Spraberry. “I think this is a piece that is important to the city of Birmingham and to the Callahan Eye Hospital.”

The work is expected to take about six months before the sculpture is returned to its place on University Boulevard.

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