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6 Billion Monkeys, an extraordinary, 80-foot sculpture providing a three-dimensional depiction of the human population explosion, is on display through April 23 at the Williams Visual Arts Building. It’s the largest artwork ever exhibited at the building.

Created by New York-based artist Loren Madsen with silver leaf on wood, the site-specific work starts outside the Williams Visual Arts Building at 1/16th inch in diameter, which represents man’s population density at 10,000 years B.C. It dramatically cuts through the building, slowly expanding its width as it enters the Grossman Gallery until it reaches its end at the year 2050, exploding in the last meter into a disc 20 feet in diameter.

The sculpture was installed March 8-9. Madison will give a lecture 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Williams Center for the Arts room 108. The public also will have a chance to speak with him at a reception for the artist 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Grossman Gallery.

“Loren is an extremely thorough thinker and an exceptionally resourceful soul,” says Jim Toia, director of the Grossman Gallery. “He is highly articulate and processes ideas more like an engineer and scientist than an artist.”

Madsen uses statistics about society and world phenomena, “Historical Abstracts,” as the starting point of his sculptures. His work has been exhibited in more than 20 one-person shows since 1973, primarily in New York and California. His art also has been part of many more group shows throughout the United States as well as in Japan, Australia, and England. It is included in museum collections in the U.S. and in Israel, Japan, Canada, and France. Madsen also has created 20 major sculptures permanently displayed throughout the U.S., with one in Japan as well.

He is a recipient of the New Talent Purchase Award from The Modern and Contemporary Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1975; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grants for 1975-76 and 1980-81; honorable mention in the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Competition, 1981; and an award from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2004.

Madsen earned his B.A. and M.S. from UCLA in 1966 and 1970, respectively.

Directed by internationally known abstract painter Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp II ’36 Professor of Art, the 23,500-square-foot Williams Visual Arts Building is one of the leading high-tech facilities for art education and exhibitions in the nation. It includes sculpture and painting studios, a community-based teaching studio, the Grossman Gallery, a flexible studio area with movable walls for honors and independent study students, a seminar room, a conference room, and faculty studios and offices. Honors students, faculty, and visiting professional artists work together with area high school and adult art students through the Community-Based Teaching Program led by Toia.

The building was recognized for excellence in design quality with the Silver Medal from the Pennsylvania chapter of The American Institute of Architects, the highest award given by the organization. It was chosen from a pool of applications by 100 practicing architects in Pennsylvania. It also received the Adaptive Reuse Award from the Easton Heritage Alliance.

Gallery hours are 10-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, contact the Grossman Gallery at 610-330-5831.

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