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As a very difficult year limps to its conclusion, WestVirginiaVille.com will have more to say about where we’ve been and where we’re going. But right now, let’s dip into the archives of West Virginia cultural multimedia. I crafted the video below in 2010, but since Albert Paley’s striking “Hallellujah” sculpture outfront of the Clay Center in West Virginia’s capital city is still there—and striking as ever—the video hasn’t dated a bit. If you’ve never had the pleasure of encountering the sculpture in person—of not only admiring it from 50 feet away, but walking under and through it— here’s that chance.
Paley, an acclaimed metal sculptor, was commissioned to erect “Hallelujah” in front of the Clay Center in Charleston WV. For those of us who worked in the city, it seemed to sprout almost overnight (well, over the course of a weekend) in October 2009.
The reaction to the 198,000-pound sculpture was immediate in a city and state where high-ticket monumental sculpture is as rare as straight roads. While fans of art and culture were happy to have this sculptural visitation from a much larger city, commentators to the local media dunned the nearly million-dollar sculpture as a rattletrap junk heap. In other words, the usual reaction to contemporary art.
It is true that the sculpture, with its upward-thrusting lines, its meant-to-weather Cor-Ten steel and bronze elements going green, bears a resemblance to a wrecked interstellar rocket ship. That’s a compliment, by the way. For those of us who have come to appreciate and love the sculpture, it is welcome visual flair to an otherwise mundane cityscape. In this music video—set to the instrumental “Fortune” by Lucas the Flow—consider “Hallelujah” from nine different vantage points along with a few video filters.
FOR MORE OF PALEY’S WORK: www.albertpaley.com