Dayton Art Institute sculpture goes missing — but don’t worry, it will be back

“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE
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“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE

There’s something big missing at the Dayton Art Institute.

“Firmament,” the bright orange, 2 ½-ton sculpture of steel cylinders — a landmark on the museum grounds — was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work.

The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976 and on view in various locations through the decades. Since the 1990s it sat under tall oak trees along Belmont Park North.

Caption
“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE

“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE
Caption
“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE

“It’s one of those things you recognize as part of the museum,” Michael Roediger, Dayton Art Institute CEO, said. “It’s a community favorite because of the bright color and uniqueness of it. We don’t have anything else like it on the grounds.”

“Firmament,” one of a dozen sculptures on the museum grounds, is a favorite for art lovers, visitors posing for selfies and neighborhood children who nicknamed it “Orange.”

PSC Crane and Rigging of Piqua lifted the five cylinders from a steel base and loaded them onto a flat bed trailer for the drive to McKaye Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Oberlin, Ohio.

Emmett Lodge, a conservator and son of the company founder, will clean, repair any damage and recoat the sculpture, returning it to the vision of the original design.

Roediger said “Firmament” will be reinstalled in November in a prominent outdoor location on the south corner of the museum, just below the three windows of the American Wing gallery.

Caption
“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE

“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE
Caption
“Firmament,” the bright orange sculpture of steel cylinders on the Dayton Art Institute grounds, was removed Monday, Aug. 23 for conservation work. The artwork, created by Alexander Liberman, has been part of the museum’s collection since 1976. It will be returned in November. ERIC BROCKMAN / DAYTON ART INSTITUTE

The new placement, up the hill from the DAI’s iconic Leo the Lion sculpture, will help round out the museum’s sculpture walk and be visible to motorists on I-75.

Conservation of the sculpture was made possible by a gift from Dayton-area native Paul Marshall in honor of Dayton resident Linda Lombard, a long-time art champion in the area who was interim director of the museum in 2011.

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