Sprouting from a lagoon, a slim framework of stainless-steel tubes and cables seems to defy gravity as it extends 45 feet into the air. The spindly column looks fragile, ethereal.
The sculpture's dramatic setting adds to its allure. Surrounded by water and a wooded shoreline, it reaches for the sky, irresistibly drawing the eye.
Created by Kenneth Snelson and titled Virlaine Tower, this structure is the largest artwork in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans. It is an example of a tensegrity structure. The tubes do not connect to each other. Instead, a single cable winds through the tubes to hold the structure in place.
In his sculptures, Snelson sought to portray in a visible way the interplay of physical forces in space. See "Needle Tower" for another example of Snelson's tensegrity structures.
Photos by I. Peterson