Social Sculpture: Insert Title Here

Yesterday, you heard about Patrick Dougherty’s sculpture of swirling saplings for the new gallery building. Maybe you noticed that we didn’t refer to it by its title. It wasn’t an omission; it was because it doesn’t have one yet. And that’s where you come in!

For Patrick, sculpture is about conversation, about openness between the artist and the viewer. His creations are more than great visual art; they are a form of social art.

His monumental stick sculptures are typically commissioned for outdoor spaces—parks, museums, universities, the side of a Max Azria store in Los Angeles—where Dougherty and a team of volunteers build from scratch over the course of numerous weeks. And not surprisingly, Dougherty’s work attracts a lot of attention! And he embraces it!

He’s known to put down his sticks, and talk about his work with anyone who pauses long enough. The stares, opinions, and questions—he sees each interaction as an opportunity to bring the casual viewer into his art. And ultimately, those conversations inform his sculptures, sometimes their shape or direction, and even their name.

While, we can’t open the doors to the new building in the midst of moving hundreds of priceless works of art, we’re doing the next best thing—sharing the installation with you via Flickr. We invite you to take a look and help Patrick name the new work of art.

Submit your title suggestions by commenting below or emailing us. You can also submit  through Facebook or Twitter. We’ll pass your ideas along to Patrick for his selection.

Come on, let’s talk!


  1. Posted December 21, 2009 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    “The Internets” – contemporary, and a side of whimsy


    I wish I could see more of it.

  2. Clare
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    1. a pocketlike, usually more or less circular structure of twigs, grass, mud, etc., formed by a bird, often high in a tree, as a place in which to lay and incubate its eggs and rear its young; any protected place used by a bird for these purposes.
    2. a place used by insects, fishes, turtles, rabbits, etc., for depositing their eggs or young.
    3. a number of birds, insects, animals, etc., inhabiting one such place.
    4. a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home.
    5. an assemblage of things lying or set close together, as a series of boxes or trays, that fit within each other: a nest of tables.
    6. a place where something bad is fostered or flourishes: a nest of vice; a robber’s nest.
    7. the occupants or frequenters of such a place.
    –Verb– (used with object)
    8. to settle or place (something) in or as if in a nest: to nest dishes in straw.
    9. to fit or place one within another: to nest boxes for more compact storage.
    –Verb–(used without object)
    10. to build or have a nest: The swallows nested under the eaves.
    11. to settle in or as if in a nest.
    12. to fit together or within another or one another: bowls that nest easily for storage.
    13. to search for or collect nests: to go nesting.
    14. Computers. to place a routine inside another routine that is at a higher hierarchical level.

  3. Kelly Wohlgenant
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    “Tumbling Weeds”

  4. Lisa W
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Swirl or Whirl

  5. Joseph Johnson
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    “language” if you sit in an open area, and listen…words sentences sounds and all types of vocal communications swirl about you and pull you through a sense of time…does not matter the language.

  6. Harry S
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink


  7. Dawn
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    1. Gyre
    2. Transfer of Motion
    3. Motion of Notion
    4. Whirling Thoughts

  8. Erin
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    “Sticky Cycle”

  9. Rick Pardue
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    “Forest Wave”

  10. Debbie Savage
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Nature’s Passion

  11. K Traphagen
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I suggested “Tapestry” on Twitter. I still like that best since (to me) the installation is woven out of material that was alive, has rich texture, hangs on a wall (covering the wall), and seems to tell a story.

    But I keep coming back to the photo to look at it again (can’t wait to see it in person) and so I’ll add these other suggestions:


    “Wind” (pronounced with both a short “i” and a long “i”)

  12. Jennifer
    Posted December 24, 2009 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    The Grace of Impermanence

    -In relation to the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence, and the materials the work is made of.

  13. Jennifer
    Posted December 24, 2009 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    -and the constant state of motion that seems implied in the work…

  14. Irene Lejman
    Posted December 25, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    A flowing together; the point of juncture of such streams; a gathering together.
    (I like ‘confluence’ as a gathering together which might refer to the new restaurant as a place to gather together.)

    A whirlpool of extraordinary size or violence; turbulence.

  15. Irene Lejman
    Posted December 26, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Def: Something gathered or amassed (the twigs); a collection (more twigs); accumulation (still more twigs); an assembly of persons; a meeting (museum visitors & diners).

  16. Posted December 29, 2009 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    “Marcelling”, as it looks like old-fashioned waved hair.

  17. Jenny Metzger
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I would call it ‘Nesting Instinct’ or ‘Nesting Minds’.

  18. Randy Locke
    Posted January 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink


    Since this instantly reminded me of the shape of unfurling fern fronds and also the fact that New Zealand has the best and biggest I would like to call it a stickman representation of the Koru (also New Zealand’s symbol of rebirth) – waves of them but located here at North Carolina instead, and simply call it the “Carolina Koru”.

    By the way, this work of art is afterall located within the new rebirth of the North Carolina Museum of Art and the name would be just perfect. Plus in early April the local Christmas Ferns will be unfurling here in North Carolina as well. Ah, nice to have the excellent timing of nature here in North Carolina to express itself too!

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