stainless steel tubes and aircraft cable
H: 216 x W: 384 x D: 426 in. (548.64 x 975.36 x 182.4 cm)
Gift of the Women’s Committee
Works such as Forest Devil are not made by threading wires through struts or welding components together. Rather, they’re created through an alternating push and pull of struts against tensed wires. This structural principle known as “tensegrity”—an amalgam of “ten- sion” and “integrity” first demonstrated by Snelson and later coined by his then-professor Buckminster Fuller who the artist says appropriated the idea as his own — designates a mutually supportive closed system. But despite their proximity to engineering and mathematics, Snelson says his sculptures are experiential not formulaic.
Weighing in at about 1,500 pounds, Forest Devil is composed of stainless-steel tubes and aircraft cable. Much of the material was donated by Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation as part of a 1978 citywide public arts project that paired internationally recognized artists like Snelson with local industrial manufacturers. The sculpture was also fabricated locally by Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company and Colonial Machine Company.