Public Art 'The Beast' Installed at Silicon Valley Campus-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Public Art 'The Beast' Installed at Silicon Valley Campus

The Beast on Halloween
The Beast on Halloween

Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley has installed “The Beast - a chimera under construction”, a six foot high, seven foot long sculpture created by Dr. Martin Griss, on its campus next to the Carnegie Mellon Innovations Laboratory. The sculpture is a gift from Director Griss and his wife, P’nina Griss.

“The Beast” is a metalwork sculpture made of various welded steel elements. It depicts a large animal, chained to a stake in the ground (so as to prevent it from running away!) The whimsical sculpture will be decorated and adorned with various accessories throughout the year to celebrate the various events on campus.

The piece was inspired by Martin's collection of small dinosaurs and dragons, but then somehow took on a life of its own, evolving into the essence of Beast. Dr. Griss, the director of the Silicon Valley campus, and Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, is an expert in software reuse. Since software reuse is the systematic collection, preparation and assembly of software objects, it is appropriate that his sculpture involves collecting and repurposing elements drawn from old bicycles, fences, gates, rebar, wire, found objects and plumbing parts. His studio and backyard are strewn with weird and wonderful rusting objects, as well as anvils, hammers, grinders and fire-breathing welding equipment.

Dr. Griss started his hobby in metalwork some 15 years ago, creating bas-relief paintings and small stone and wire wrapped jewelry pieces as wearable art, but then evolved to more complex pieces in silver, copper, brass and steel. Over the years, he has created more than 8 sculptures and dozens of jewelry pieces, several of which were custom created and sold. While he has enjoyed presenting his work at several shows and open studio tours, this is his first permanent installation. Dr. Griss said, "I am delighted and proud to have my sculpture displayed on campus, and hope it will inspire our students to create their own integration of engineering, fine arts and creativity."

Cynthia Carbon-Norman, NASA Ames Research Park liaison, said, "We are pleased to have Dr. Griss' sculpture as an added piece of art to the park landscape, where it can be enjoyed by the entire community. “The Beast” adds a creative style to NRP, and brings out the artistic talents of Martin Griss. Carnegie Mellon has been an active member of the NASA Ames Research Center community and it's been a pleasure to collaborate with them."