Historic Nicollet Mall Sculpture Clock: Conservation

Before and after images of Historic Nicollet Mall Sculpture Clock

Conservation treatment of the Historic Nicollet Mall Sculpture Clock. This unique timepiece includes a large Street Clock and a Kinetic Sculpture. The Nicollet Mall Sculpture Clock, which was installed in 1968, is the last remaining element of the respected 1960's historic design for Nicollet Mall by Lawrence Halprin. This timepiece and artwork are unique and distinctive and a well-known and beloved landmark. Over the past 48 years, the clock was kept in continuous operation. The kinetic sculpture operated from 1968 until 2002.

Conserving and reinstalling the Sculpture Clock in working condition has enduring value for many compelling reasons. It is a distinctive work by the renowned and influential mid‐century landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. It will be seen by millions of visitors annually, and it has been adored by generations of Minnesotans.

A very unique historic object, the Sculpture Clock is the only kinetic sculpture and mid‐century artwork in the City of Minneapolis collection. Although many of Lawrence Halprin’s innovative landscapes still exist in other parts of the country, the Clock is the only remaining element of his 1960’s Nicollet Mall and the last vestige of his work in Minnesota. A sculpture in motion, the Clock exemplifies a core emphasis of Halprin and his wife and collaborator, choreographer Anna‐‐movement through public space. (His transformation of Nicollet’s linear street into a curvilinear ribbon was considered daring at the time.)

The Clock has oriented visitors to where they are and City workers to the time of day for nearly fifty years. As the clock continues to age, its historic value to the City and State will continue to grow, particularly as people rely more and more on electronic devices to tell time, and street clocks become rarer. A new generation of Minnesotans will develop their own fondness for the piece.

The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program has been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.