Laura Kaufman

Meters To The Center

Meters To The Center reflected on the monumental dimensions of our solar system by relating them to the scale of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. The bridge is an engineered object of such magnitude that its numbers–of cars, of cubic feet, and even of miles of subroads–elevate it beyond it a human scale. The contradiction of its presence on Randall’s Island is that, while the three-pronged structure looms, the island is a refuge where New Yorkers can experience expansive space and a connection to the sky and even the planet. Meters To The Center was a bench-height sculpture in three parts whose shape mimicked the shape and orientation of the bridge when viewed from a satellite. Each arm of the three-pronged sculpture was composed of numbers cast in a concrete compound. These three numbers were the approximate distances in meters from the surface of the island to the centers of the earth, moon, and sun. The scales of these celestial bodies and the big numbers that represent them dwarf the measurements of our daily existence. The bridge’s monumentality spans not only the commute between the boroughs but also the elastic distances our eyes and minds travel between the earth and the sky.

The Blog

High Summer

Laura Kaufman, Meters To The Center, 2012

Concrete, Organic Material from the Centers of the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens

Installation Complete

After a long day of heavy lifting, my sculpture is finished. Michael Karmody and I worked out the logistics of moving 6000 pounds of concrete 300 miles and then easing them into precision order. The templates worked beautifully, our low tech method of moving them made large machinery unnecessary. Friends with a lot of heart and brawn dedicated a sweaty day to the project. 

I owe tremendous thanks to Michael and his girlfriend Jennifer, Greg Reynolds (whose tremendous sculpture, Hey Poseidon, was a highlight of last year's FLOW projects), Jacob Rhodes (, and my husband, Matt Frieburghaus. Together we installed and repaired the site within a day. 

The results are spectacular, and I'm really looking forward to the response from visitors.

Laura Kaufman

Site Preparation

The templates are drilled and marked for Saturday's installation, but more interestingly, over the last week the trenches were dug and leveled, and drainage rock poured. Today's driving rain made me stop a bit earlier than I wanted, but as the clouds gathered over midtown, I got a great view of the storm.

Laura Kaufman

Meet The Numbers

Yesterday I met my numbers. Michael Karmody of Stone Soup Concrete (Easthampton, MA) did an incredible job. The casts are flawless and have incredible presence. We also worked out logistical details for the install (they weigh 250 lbs each). As he promised, two people can move them with the right, low tech equipment. I joked with him that he was the kind of guy who made the pyramids possible. 

I have my crew together, the casts are done. Next up: drilling the underground registration templates...

zero seven

The Artist

Laura Kaufman(b. 1973, Pittsburgh, PA)

Laura Kaufman’s work is inspired by the gaps between the known and unknown and the universal search for insight into the natural, constructed, and spiritual worlds. She examines the fluidity of perception and the means used to study aspects of the natural world, whether telescopes, measurements, or patterns. She studied at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York (BA, 1995), School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (1999-2001), and Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (MFA, 2004).

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