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An Important Chrysler Acquisition

The Kinetic Chrysler Chandelier by Luke Jerram

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

A prized addition to the Chrysler collection is a kinetic sculpture by Luke Jerram. The acclaimed English artist finished installation on April 1, and the piece was unveiled when we reopened May, 10.

The kinetic chandelier is a delicately engineered mix of glass, wire, and light-bulb-shaped objects known as Crooke's radiometers.

Folks of a certain age may remember seeing radiometers, sometimes called light mills, as tourist curiosities back in the day. The clear glass bulb encapsulates a near-vacuum, and inside the bulb sits a four-vaned rotor atop a spindle. When exposed to light (or infrared radiation) the vanes will move.

The dark sides move away from the source, the white sides towards it, and in the Jerram chandelier, which contains more than 300 radiometers, the overall effect is dazzling. It's even better that the sparkling light and movement requires no electricity to run, though there are infrared LEDs wired inside so the sculpture can move at night. All told, the piece is 17 feet tall. It weighs 66 pounds.

The chandelier was funded by a grant from the Christiane and James Valone Charitable Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. The Valones' gift is in honor of their parents Denise Gabrielle Jacot des Combes and Leslie Ellis and Ethel Morrison Fielder and James Valone.

For more on the work of Jerram, an artist making a name for himself around the world, see Aside from the picture of his shaking hands with the Queen, the site contains details on innovative art installations in public places and some remarkably varied sculptural pieces.

The photo at right and the photo at the top of the page were taken by Jerram himself. In the top photo, he kindly held our camera at the bottom of the chandelier, pointed the lens straight up, and snapped the picture on our behalf. Click any image to enlarge.

Here's a snapshot of Jerram at work during assembly. His assistant, who is pictured below, is Bob McClung. Jerram also posted a short video on the project to YouTube.