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Chaos and Delight

June 18, 2000

It was a pleasure to read Douglas Wissing's article spotlighting the small Indiana town of Columbus ("Little Columbus Builds a Reputation," May 28). Although I've lived in the Los Angeles area for nearly 20 years, I was born in the Bartholomew County Hospital of which he wrote and used to play junior basketball in what was then the Boy's Club and is now the Columbus Visitors Center.

Although my family eventually moved, it was during a visit back through the new Commons mall that I experienced an epiphany of sorts upon viewing Jean Tinguely's then-just-completed kinetic sculpture, "Chaos I." As I was just a young art student, Tinguely's marriage of art and technology proved influential in my own work, which has included the element of movement ever since.

It's interesting to point out that this piece is Tinguely's only permanent public commission in the U.S. The piece was constructed in an old warehouse just down the street from the Commons from 1972-74. Tinguely, who was based in Europe, was initially hesitant to relocate to such a small town to do such a major piece. In the end, however, it was his love of auto racing, and Columbus' proximity to the Indy 500, that swayed him. He died in 1991.

JIM JENKINS

Professor of Art/Sculpture

Cal State University, Fullerton

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