The sculpture Nimbus, once a fixture in front of the old Alaska State Museum, was returned to very near its old location on the same lot on Saturday. The green, steel abstract sculpture was lowered onto a new concrete platform as sculptor Robert Murray supervised its placement and orientation.
Builders of the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum wanted to move the 38 year old sculpture into place before construction work begins on the driveway and landscaping in front of the facility.
Nimbus has been partially restored with additional steel welded onto the bottom portion. The sculpture lost about four inches in height when it was almost-haphazardly cut away from its original site in front of the Dimond Court Building. Nimbus also sits on a new steel beam framework that will be covered with concrete. Restoration work will continue this summer with the removal of temporary hoist rings, sandblasting of the steel, and a fresh coat of paint.
Canadian sculptor Robert Murray, who now makes his home in Pennsylvania, traveled to Juneau to inspect the restoration-in-progress and make sure that the sculpture’s arch form fit in with its surroundings.
Nimbus has, perhaps, been the most controversial piece of public art installed in Juneau over the past four decades. Its abstract form and green color are some of the more common complaints lobbed by critics. The National Endowment for the Arts, the Alaska Court System and the Alaska State Council for the Arts originally funded the sculpture. In 1984, disgruntled state lawmakers found a way to force Governor Bill Sheffield to remove the sculpture from the court building site.
Nimbus was placed in a state storage yard and was later moved to a new home in front of the Alaska State Museum. It remained there until the facility’s demolition started last August.