Where's the Art?

American artist Ned Kahn was commissioned through GSA’s Art in Architecture program to create a site-specific work of art for the reflecting pool of the ATF courtyard during construction of the building. Learn more about his work, Quantum Wave, below.

Quantum Wave
(Exterior, Courtyard)

Quantum Wave

Ned Kahn’s Quantum Wave is a 100-foot long, wind-animated stainless steel sculpture designed for the reflecting pool of the ATF courtyard. The entire surface of this tilted arc is covered with three-inch stainless steel disks that are hinged to move in the wind. As the wind blows the metal disks, they variously reflect colors from the sky above and the water below. Thus the entire surface of the artwork is constantly in motion, visually melding the patterns and colors of the sky and pool.

Kahn has stated about his work: “The confluence of science and art has fascinated me throughout my career. I have developed a body of work inspired by atmospheric physics, geology, astronomy and fluid motion. I strive to create artworks that enable viewers to observe and interact with natural processes. I am less interested in creating an alternative reality than I am in capturing, through my art, the mysteriousness of the world around us.”

Art in Architecture Program

The GSA Art in Architecture Program commissions the nation's leading artists to create large-scale works of art for new federal buildings. These artworks enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts. Together, the art and architecture of federal buildings create a lasting cultural legacy for the people of the U.S. Fulfilling the recommendation of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 Ad Hoc Committee for Federal Architecture that "where appropriate, fine art should be incorporated in the designs of federal buildings with emphasis on the work of living American artists," GSA convenes a panel comprised of art professionals, civic and community representatives, and the project's lead design architect to discuss opportunities for artists to participate in the building project. This panel reviews a diverse pool of artist candidates and nominates finalists for GSA to evaluate. Artists who receive federal commissions work with the project architects and others as members of a design team to ensure that the artworks are meaningfully integrated into the overall project.

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