The Norton’s New Look

   The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach likes to kick off each new season with a new look in the form of a site-specific lobby installation. For its fourth project, which was unveiled last week, the museum went in a different direction than in years past, turning towards a perception-pushing work that celebrates architecture.

   “I wanted to do something completely different than what we had done in the space before,” explains Director of Curatorial Affairs Cheryl Brutvan. To accomplish this, Brutvan turned to British artist Terry Haggerty, famous for his works of geometric abstraction that explore the relationship between form, space and perception. “I’m interested in showing the truth of what is happening and kind of contradicting it,” Haggerty says.

Terry Haggerty in front of his untitled work. Photo by Brodigan Photography

   After visiting the space earlier in the year, Haggerty became inspired by the Norton’s unique dimensions and decided to emphasize and explore the lobby’s unusual sense of depth and angularity. “The thought was to engage the space and open up a different dimension to the space,” he says. First working on a computer before tinkering on a model, Haggerty conceived of an installation of monochromatic lines that would vary in size but maintain a consistent visual pattern so as to imbue the work with a sense of volume. “In a way, the piece moves beyond the reality of the architecture,” he says.

   To view the work, which Haggerty completed over the span of a week with the help of a small team, is to experience the traditional concept of trompe l’oeil through a modernist lens. “In a way, it’s living,” Haggerty says. “As you move through it, it’s always shifting.” Visitors to the Norton, in fact, can view the piece from a number of vantage points; the bold lines continue from the entrance wall to the back wall above the main doors. As one moves from one end of the lobby to the other, the piece pulsates with volume. “It has the classic push, pull of a painting composition,” Brutvan says.

The mural as seen on the opposing wall. Photo by Brodigan Photography

   One thing that is unchanging is the vibrant red color. “This was the first color I thought of,” Haggerty says. “I didn’t want to go too local with the color—no blues, no greens, no asphalts. This is a very voluptuous color.” Armed with roll upon roll of tape and a massive amount of red paint, Haggerty created a perplexing, unsymmetrical work of art that at once welcomes guests and asks them to leave their perceptions at the door.

   Haggerty’s untitled work is on display through September 2015. To learn more about the artist or the Norton’s 2014-15 season, visit

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