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"Chaos Xaxis," by American artist Jedd Novatt, has been installed in front of the Axinn Center along Route 30.

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College Adds to Public Art Collection

September 21, 2015

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury’s burgeoning collection of public art grew by one—significantly large — piece on Thursday, September 17 with the official unveiling of a new sculpture by American artist Jedd Novatt. Workers used a crane to set in place Chaos Xaxis, a non-representational sculpture that is part of Novatt’s Chaos Series, on the lawn between Route 30 and the southeast side of the Axinn Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Starr Library.

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The newly installed "Chaos Xaxis," by artist Jedd Novatt, on the east lawn of the Axinn Center.

“We are thrilled to have this prominent sculpture find a permanent home on the Middlebury campus," said President Laurie Patton in her remarks at a dedication ceremony with the artist and donor present.

Middlebury College Museum of Art Director Richard Saunders reflected on the power of still art in an overly busy world. “Works of art such as Chaos Xaxis matter because they require us to be contemplative when most other aspects of contemporary society demand that we tag, tweet, and text as though pause and reflection no longer have currency," said Saunders. "And works of public art in particular matter because they remind us of, in a world of almost instant gratification, that most things that are ultimately satisfying may only reveal themselves over time, so we all understand that patience is indeed a virtue.”

The gift of an anonymous donor, Chaos Xaxis stands some 14 feet high by 13 feet wide. An architectonic composition consisting of three box-like, open forms that intersect in a dynamic configuration, the work exerts a strong dramatic presence. Despite its impressive dimensions and considerable weight—nearly four metric tons—the open composition allows viewers to see through it from every vantage point. Its warm bronze formal elements, each individually tapered, create an intricate framework that creates many views of the surrounding lawns and buildings.

The public unveiling of Chaos Xaxis marked the conclusion of a 7-month series of deliberations by CAPP, the College’s Committee on Art in Public Places, which oversees the acquisition, installation, and maintenance of public art on campus. The sculpture was brought to Middlebury’s attention by Ron Marks P’14, a member of the College’s Arts Council. The site, selected by the committee in consultation with the artist, was approved by the college in July.

Read more about Chaos Xaxis at the Middlebury College Museum of Art.