Jeremy Kunkel, a Mason School of Art Sculpture student, has been featured in The Washington Post. You can read all about it in the article, Lost Luggage: In May,10 strange sculptures showed up in the Potomac River.
In the article by columnist, John Kelly, it goes on to say that starting in 2015, Maryland artist Jeremy Kunkel began sculpting a series of works he calls Arm, in Case.
This project did not end there though as Kunkel had his latest installation in May of 2021.
The sculpture project by Kunkel includes 10 sculptures positioned on concrete slabs on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.
“There are curious pieces of art arranged over a hundred-yard stretch of concrete slabs in the Potomac River opposite Old Town Alexandria. To come up with the concept, construct the pieces, and then get them up on those treacherous slabs is a lot of work for something so under the radar. I can’t find anything online. I’m wondering if Answer Man can come up with anything," said local resident, John Neer of Alexandria.
In the display, Kunkel has 10 of the same sculpture, pieces that are disembodied, life-size human arms. The arm spans from just above the elbow down to the hand. Each sculpture is yellow in color, and the hand of the sculptures are gripping a suitcase. These concrete sculptures are about 200 pounds and depending on the tide in the Potomac look as if they are floating.
In the article, Kelly goes on to explain, the art sits in a cove called the Spoils, which is peppered with chunks of rebar-studded concrete that were scraped from the Wilson Bridge when it was resurfaced in 2008 and placed in the water as habitat for fish.
When artist Jeremy Thomas Kunkel spied the spot, he knew it was the perfect canvas for his creation.
Kunkel explained that, “Over the past few years I’ve been spending a lot of time traveling around the Beltway and the whole landscape of the DMV [looking for] what I call urban islands, these are areas cut off by on-ramps, offramps and freeways, interesting landscapes that are islands to themselves, inaccessible to people.”
But how does it work exactly?
According to Kunkel, “It was a process. I'll be honest, It took a couple of years to really finalize the idea of how that was going to work, to get a hold of equipment to make that happen and find the proper way to access it. Certain aspects of the landscape you don’t want to disturb.”
Can’t forget to mention Kunkel did all of this from a small bass boat!
In the article, Kunkel explains, “The suitcases themselves are about displacement, abandonment, exile." They are a commentary on what humans do to one another.
Kunkel also goes on to explain, “The location itself is fantastic in that it’s subtle. It is both visible from the Wilson Bridge and invisible: a blur from the corner of the eye. That applies to a lot of humanity, too."
Kelly went on to say, “Most works of art are destined for homes or galleries. Kunkel couldn’t really be sure anyone would ever see this installation.”
The works are truly worth taking the time to see, we are not too far from them at the Mason School of Art.