Off view

American, 1923–2019
Orbit, 1972
Stainless steel
12 ft. x 72 in. x 72 in. (365.8 x 182.9 x 182.9 cm)
Purchased with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation
© The Estate of Jerome Kirk
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson
While studying mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jerome Kirk was deeply impressed by an exhibition of Alexander Calder's sculpture held in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kirk’s own first mobiles, which date from after his graduation in 1951, bear the influence of the elder artist’s work. Orbit, one of two works by Kirk in the collection, was commissioned specifically for Storm King, and its highly polished and reflective surfaces are characteristic of his work. The form of Orbit resembles a planet with orbiting suns, its concentric circular forms spinning gently and easily in the wind. Kirk has in fact imagined the sculpture’s movement out in the universe: “Natural forces provide fixed parameters within which I have to work, but the forms and shapes are largely intellectually and emotionally derived. A static sculpture would not change if moved from the face of the earth, however, kinetic sculpture would behave very differently on the moon or [in] outer space.”