Collection Artwork
Martin Kersels (born Los Angeles, California, 1960)
Buoy
1999
aluminum, steel, motor, light, amplifier, speaker, wood, weights, CD player, audio CD
installed size: 69 x 22 x 22 in.
Gift of Peter Norton
2015.26.34

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Tang Collective Catalog


A buoy is anchored in the water, a navigational marker where otherwise there would be none. Yet Martin Kersels’s Buoy, with sounds and a flashing light to attract both ear and eye, is not a steady beacon. Energized by a motor, the sculpture shifts its weight, dancing around the floor—but, attached to the wall by an electrical cord, it moves only so far. In the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like many of us are moving in this way, minimally drifting, tethered to a wall. Physically and emotionally, we can only move so far. We see family and friends through a screen or at six feet of distance, everyone untouchable, masks covering our faces, our expressions. We are tethered to ourselves, looking out. We seek a buoy, a sight in the distance that will guide us—back to “normal,” if ever there was one—but also realize we are the buoys. We are still, mostly; and for one another, we can signal home and safety.
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Pattern by Evelyn Wang ’19
Inspired by the exhibition 3-D Doings: The Imagist Object in Chicago Art, 1964-1980
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.