Looking for the Pieces

What the locals in West Branch, Iowa referred to as the “bronze statue” became the keystone for a international and local art exhibition which began January 25, 1997. The show “Looking for the Pieces” featured work by artists such as Les Levine, Lawrence Weiner and Luccio Pozzi.

On the grounds of the Herbert Hoover National Park in West Branch, Iowa, set back along a foot path, surrounded by trees, is a looming bronze figure of the Egyptian Goddess of knowledge. While the statue is familiar to the residents of West Branch, and an errie spectacle to visitors, the actual history of the statue and the mythology of its meaning was all but overlooked. I spent two years working to develop a space dedicated to unveiling and interpreting the mystery of the statue which was a gift to President Herbert Hoover from the Belgians during World War I in gratitude of his efforts to feed 900,000 starving people.

One block away from the statue created by Puttemans was the Isis Conceptual Laboratory, Inc. Inside, the myth of the goddess who collected scattered pieces of her slain lover and who is considered a deity of history and knowledge, was on display in a variety of artistic mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, as well as video and interactive computer installations.