Please note: West Building is now closed through October 7, 2022, to complete an exciting reinstallation of the People’s Collection. During this time enjoy free exhibitions on view in East Building, indoor and outdoor events and programming, and the 164-acre Museum Park. We’re excited to welcome visitors back to a new Museum experience starting October 8, 2022. Learn more about this project.

Just How Did Those “Rings” Come About?

/ March 27, 2020
While Thomas Sayre is a Raleigh-based artist and architect, he has constructed works of art all over the world. To create his art, Sayre uses earth and soil from the ground where his sculptures will eventually stand to form earth casts. The three giant rings in the NCMA Park, also known as Gyre, were constructed in 1999 and are one of the Museum’s most photographed artworks.
This PBS documentary introduces viewers to the magic of Thomas Sayre’s artistic vision and process.

Earth casting is an affordable way of making very big things that are very strong and permanent. But more important than that, it’s a way of working whereby human intention—what I want, what I engineer—is in balance with nature, in this case the geology of the ground, which pushes back and affects the work.  

—Thomas Sayre

Gyre‘s resonance shifts and changes with the seasons:

Thomas Sayre, Gyre, 1999, three ellipses of concrete, colored with iron oxide, reinforced with steel, and mottled with dirt residue from earth casting,overall length 150 ft. Gift of Artsplosure, City of Raleigh, and various donors

Linda Johnson Dougherty
Linda Johnson Dougherty is chief curator and curator of contemporary art at the NCMA.

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