The Trust Partners with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Park Service to Install a Landscape Portrait on National Mall
Trust for the National Mall
READ: Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada Hopes to Change Perception of ‘Melting Pot’ With National Mall Exhibit
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 19, 2014) — The Trust for the National Mall is proud to partner with Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the National Park Service (NPS) in bringing to life a large-scale landscape portrait on the National Mall.
The piece from urban artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada is titled, “Out of Many, One,” the English translation of America’s unofficial motto, E pluribus unum. The temporary art installation, commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in partnership with the Trust and NPS, will serve as an interactive walk-through experience for visitors. It will be viewable from the top of the newly reopened Washington Monument and as far away as outer space. The work will stretch across six acres of land and be placed midway between the World War II and Lincoln Memorials along the south side of the Reflecting Pool.
Rodríguez-Gerada will capture a series of portraits in Washington, D.C., to create a composite for the landscape. Once this large-scale portrait is complete, he will create an etching design using parallel lines that will be projected by a satellite and read by GPS topography poles on the ground. These poles will allow the artist to place the large-scale image at the location with high resolution and precision.
“This portrait, a stunning compilation of American faces, reflects the unique composition of the National Mall’s 29 million annual visitors and honors the legacy of diversity that has made this park – and our country – so great,” said Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall.
The National Park Service has issued a special use permit for the installation, which will begin in September and be completed by the end of the month. The project will require approximately 2,000 tons of sand, 800 tons of soil, 10,000 wooden pegs and miles of string. The National Mall serves as an ideal location for this work, given the site’s historic role as a beacon of our shared American values.
“‘Out of Many, One’ reflects what the National Mall stands for – democracy, diversity and freedom of expression,” said National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Robert Vogel. “It will provide visitors with a unique national park experience and, in keeping with our mission, will improve the soil for better turf in the future. These benefits would not be possible without this unique partnership.”
The portrait will remain on the National Mall until the end of October, when the materials will be tilled back into the soil to leave the grounds in even better condition than when the project began. Rodríguez-Gerada’s urban portraits, which have been featured in cities around the world including Barcelona, Amsterdam and Belfast (which can be seen here), explore themes of identity while leaving no negative impact on their surroundings. His commitment to environmental sustainability is consistent with the Trust and National Park Service’s shared goal of preserving the National Mall for future generations.
“Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada’s work demonstrates that the art of portraiture knows no boundaries,” said Kim Sajet, director of the museum. “Who we are; how we perceive others; those we recognize; and those who we place in high esteem; constantly shifts over time. Portraits and the people they represent can be as big as we are willing to imagine.”
The National Portrait Gallery presents “Out of Many, One,” by Rodríguez-Gerada in partnership with the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service.
About the Trust for the National Mall
The Trust for the National Mall is the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the nation’s most visited National Park. The Trust is raising awareness and funds to support the 2010 National Mall Plan, a comprehensive blueprint and detailed action plan to enhance the National Mall’s beauty, usefulness, and sustainability for generations to come. The Trust’s Campaign for the National Mall will raise $350 million from all corners of America to fund needed infrastructure improvements, educational opportunities and visitor amenities, while building a once-in-a generation movement to create stewards of the National Mall across the country. Learn more at www.nationalmall.org or www.facebook.com/NationalMalll.
About the National Portrait Gallery
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.
The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000; website: www.npg.si.edu; Facebook: www.facebook.com/npg.smithsonian, Instagram: www.instagram.com/smithsoniannpg, blog: face2face.si.edu, Twitter: www.twitter.com/npg, and YouTube: www.youtube.com/NatlPortraitGallery.
National Mall and Memorial Parks
As a unit of the National Park Service, the National Mall and Memorial Parks preserves, protects and interprets the original planned design for the city of Washington, DC, laid out by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791. Upon those lands NAMA protects the memorials, monuments and sites that define the nation to the world. On the National Mall these sites include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. NAMA is also America’s foremost civic space, annually administering more than 3,000 permitted special events and First Amendment activities. Every year, the National Mall and Memorial Parks proudly serves more than 29 million visitors.