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Man of Steel: A Sculptor and His Unusual Art

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When you make art that’s intended to be interactive and people just walk by it, does it irritate you?
Well, a lot of people interpret art differently. I made a piece in the fall that people found really intimidating. But the sphere is something they want to interact with.

How important is location?
Site-specificity is really important. I had wanted to place the sphere in a large grassy plaza at MICA, but it ended up surrounded by concrete. But putting a sculpture like that in a place starved for greenery really helped people interact with it.

Does the scale of your work encourage people to interact with it?
Absolutely. Steel can be so intimidating, but the sphere looks sturdy. You can do what you want to it. You can kick it. There’s a comfort in that.

Do you have family and friends that just wish you painted sunsets or something more typical?
Oh, yeah. My mom. Don’t get me wrong: She loves my work, but I feel like she would be just as happy with the paintings I made as a freshman.

» Conner Contemporary Art, 1358 Florida Ave. NE; through Aug. 22, free; 202-588-8750;

Photo courtesy Conner Contemporary Art