Friday, February 17, 2012

“Loup Garou” sculpture: inspired by the Louisiana werewolf

Last weekend, we were in New Orleans and drove through the campus of University of New Orleans.  When we saw this sculpture, I really was intrigued and wanted to do more research on it.

Here's what I learned.

In late June 2011, Peter Lundberg’s 207,000-pound, 33-ft.-tall concrete sculpture “Loup Garou” was moved from its fractured base in front of the University of New Orleans art department, to a sturdy new platform in a grove of magnolia and mimosa trees, just yards away, across Harwood Drive. 

Lundberg is a Vermont-based sculptor, who has placed similarly gigantic concrete casings around the U.S., as well as in Germany and China. In 2006 he and sculptor Michael Manjarris founded Sculpture for New Orleans, an altruistic organization that has placed public artworks across the city. 

“Loup Garou,” named for the French Louisiana werewolf myth, is Lundberg’s personal contribution to the effort.  Lundberg values "Loup Garou" at $150,000. It is on loan to UNO.

Crossing the road was the last leg of an eventful and expensive journey for what is probably New Orleans’ most massive artwork.

In late December 2009, Lundberg dug a swimming-pool-sized hole in the yard behind a warehouse in the Bywater neighborhood. He filled the rough shape with tons of tangled reinforcing rods, tires, boulders and other debris, plus a sea of concrete. An industrial crane pried the hardened mass from the earth like an enormous fossil and Lundberg’s behemoth was born. The original title of the sculpture was “Mississippi Gateway,” but Lundberg changed the name when he learned of the Louisiana werewolf.  The new title fit better with his custom of naming his sculpture after mythological creatures. The mammoth cost $30,000 to create Lundberg said, paid for by an anonymous benefactor.

Read more about it -- and even watch a video that includes scenes of the "Loup Garou" under construction and during installation at www.nola.com.

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