The new 24-foot-tall face on the Virginia Museum’s block

Posted at 12:53 AM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 11:11:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Chloe's face is so thin you could almost slice cheese with it - a very large block of cheese.

And yet it's also wide - or perfectly proportioned. It's all those things, at the same time - and surprisingly expressive from almost every side.

And wow, that sweet, calm face that radiates serenity is 24-feet tall. Her complexion is practically perfect in every way - as Mary Poppins and Jennifer Anniston might say.

(Let's face it, marble dust mixed with polyester resin over a stainless steel frame might be just the thing to defy aging.)

Chloe, of course, is the brand-new addition to the sparse outdoor art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

She was commissioned by the museum to add to the landscape long ago populated by cottages for Confederate soldiers and the museum-like Home for Needy Confederate Women.

Somehow, Chloe manages to connect to all that history, and to us.

The artist, 61-year-old Jaume Plensa of Spain, is known for his serene faces that seem to play on classic white marble sculpture.

It is a fascinating piece that many observers say changes with viewing angle and distance.

I visited with Chloe and many patrons who gathered for sunset at the museum on its jazz night. Dusk is thought to be the sweet spot for Chloe.

Please watch the video for their thoughts about the VMFA's new addition that can be seen from Grove Avenue and the Boulevard.

Nearly all I spoke with loved it and believed it would grow on them as the seasons drift along.

I, too, love it. It's so evocative and seems to add a touch of beautiful calm to one of my favorite places in RVA.

She invites reflection.

One caveat: Outdoor art doesn't have to stay forever, much like the art inside.

Maybe it's me, but as much as I (and the goldfish) like Chihuly's red reeds nestling in the outside water garden, it seems like they've been there pretty close to long enough.

Or maybe she'll freshen them up.

In any event, I hope Chloe doesn't frown on me for critiquing any part of her new world.


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