Spur was inspired by lava tubes under the surface of Craters of the Moon National Monument (where it was temporarily installed June through October, 2016). The sculpture was also inspired by the history of the railroad, particularly the spur line that once diverged north from the main tracks abutting the National Monument into the Wood River Valley. The sculpture is made with Alaskan Yellow Cedar. It is 80 feet long by 13 feet high and 20 feet wide. The interior surfaces have been flame charred.
For the shape of his work, Grade drew inspirations from the wormhole forms marking the lava terrain in this unusual and beautiful national park. Grade’s research included a crosscountry ski trip in winter – starkly contrasting the white of Idaho snow against the voids in the black lava formations. While the form overall reintegrates what Grade found as naturally occurring forms in the landscape, the horizontal cross ties are intended to reference the region’s long history with the railroad.
The project was sponsored by Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Ketchum, ID, the city of Ketchum, ID. and the National Parks Service with additional support through grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation (NY), and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support came from the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands, the Blaine County recreational District and private donors.
A related exhibition “Craters of the Moon” at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts (May 20 – July 30, 2016) included preparatory sketches, drawings, etchings and video related to the creation of Spur as well as work by other artists inspired by Craters of the Moon National Monument. The exhibition was curated by Artistic Director Kristin Poole and Curator of Visual Arts Courtney Gilbert. John Grade is represented by CYNTHIA-REEVES.
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