About the Work
White Cloud was commissioned by the Cleveland Museum of Art in partnership with LAND studio. The project was selected from approximately two dozen ideas to become the backdrop for the museum’s annual Summer Solstice party, which attracts over 5,000 people.
LAND studio and artist Mark Reigelman spent nearly two weeks constructing White Cloud, which appeared to float against the exterior of the ceremonial entrance to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Comprised of nearly 100 eight-foot weather balloons, a dozen 22-foot steel poles, and rope, White Cloud was a soft, organic complement to the symmetrical grandness of the Museum. When the wind blew, the balloons appeared to dance precariously above the ground, in stark contrast to the sturdiness of the Museum’s marble walls. White Cloud was spectacularly lit by local lighting designers at Vincent Lighting.
Though the selection of this project for an outdoor installation was risky, everyone engaged in the project was optimistic that the dramatic and striking concept would be realized.
The ephemeral nature of the balloons became symbolic of the temporality of an event such as the summer solstice, which comes only once a year. Throughout the week leading up to the event, there were a number of occasions in which the strength of the materials and the durability of the design were tested. The wind whipped through the balloons at high speeds, creating an enormous sail-like effect that eventually even caused a steel pole to bend. The design of the installation was modified and refined daily, sometimes hourly. The minutes leading up to Saturday evening ticked away at a seemingly rapid pace. Construction on White Cloud was completed just after midnight on Saturday morning.
Mark Reigelman II
Thunderstorms were predicted for Northeast Ohio late Saturday morning, with wind speeds of over 20 miles per hour anticipated throughout the day. Five thousand people had purchased tickets to the party. The project team had worked for hundreds of hours refining the mode of installation. The predicted wind speeds went from probable to inevitable, leading to the decision to deconstruct White Cloud shortly after 10:00am on Saturday morning.
Seen by only a handful of people, the bold design of White Cloud dared to compete with the flawless façade of the Museum by bringing some of the brilliance that is housed within its walls outside. Though this installation was ultimately not present during the Summer Solstice party, LAND studio hopes that by sharing pictures of White Cloud, we are able to inspire others to take artistic and creative risks, even if the triumph exists for only a few moments.