Sunday, July 30, 2000

Pig Parade Contemporary Arts Centerloin

Arts center architects' pig saw jigsaw

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This is 92nd in a series spotlighting pigs from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project taking place in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Find past pig profiles at

        What's the difference between a building and a pig? Not so much if you're Zaha Hadid, the world famous architect who is creating the new Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, the Contemporary Arts Center's new home. It is scheduled to be finished in 2002.

        The CAC asked Ms. Hadid if she would consider designing a pig, and she agreed. Actually, the pig was created by a team of architects in Ms. Hadid's London office, working with architect Ed Gaskins, who represents Ms. Hadid in Cincinnati.

        Mr. Gaskins, 33, is a Cincinnati native who works for Ms. Hadid at the office of KZF Architects.

        “The idea for the pig was developed verbally in the London office and passed on to me. I did the drawings and supervised the construction,” Mr. Gaskins says.

        Sponsor: Murray Sinclaire Jr., Ross Sinclaire & Associates for the Contemporary Arts Center.

        This pig's pen: Fifth Street, at the Westin Hotel.

        What's the pig idea? Ms. Hadid describes her design for the Rosenthal Center as a “jigsaw puzzle of interlocking spaces, with galleries and offices nesting into each other.”

        “The pig is a lot like the CAC building,” Mr. Gaskins says. “Just as the building challenges the idea of what a single building is, the sculpture challenges the idea of what a single pig is. The logic is slightly different. The building logic is putting volumes together like puzzle pieces. The pig uses slicing and shifting to become two pigs, a static pig and a fluid pig. It has a split personality.”

        What's the matter? “We had to find a way to slice the pig into 3-inch slices,” says Eric Kilb, owner of the Glass Hand in Cleves, the studio that made and/or modified most of the fiberglass pigs.

        “The pig is hollow, so the first thing we had to do was turn it upside down and fill it with expanding foam. Then we had to find the biggest band saw in the area, and slice the pig. Last, we had to cover the ends of the slices with fiberglass sheets,” Mr. Kilb says.

        The color is a Zaha trademark the firm calls “a woosh,” Mr. Gaskins says. “It is a color that changes from dark to light over the surface of the pig. The exterior goes from light to dark gray. The interior parts are deep red. That wasn't meant to be taken literally, but it does suggest slicing a ham.” Former CAC employees Sarah Stolar and Bill Test painted the pig.

        What artistic movement most affected the outcome of this pig? “This is one of the few pigs I've seen that took on the notions of contemporary art rather than painting a pig or putting pictures on a pig,” Mr. Gaskins says.

        The materials cost: The budget was $2,500.


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- Pig Parade Contemporary Arts Centerloin