If someone were to write the art history of Atlanta, the creation of “Source Route,” George Trakas’ sculpture at Emory University, would be named a seminal event. The 1979 piece — two pathways to the streambed of the Baker Woodland behind the Carlos Museum — was one of the city’s earliest examples of land art. Trakas, who is here this week to conserve the sculpture, will give a lecture about his work on Thursday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the museum’s hall.
Atlanta artist Evan Levy, then an Emory student, remembers the impact of the sculpture. “It was eye-opening. Trakas’ way of thinking about art in the landscape was different from anything being implemented in Atlanta at the time.
“We used to walk across the bridge over Baker Woodland all the time to get to the library, but I never noticed the landscape. The piece really revealed the ravine. We would go down there a lot. When you were in the ravine, it revealed the beautiful structure of the bridge.”
Commissioned in conjunction with a symposium on intellect and imagination, “Source Route” was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art in Public Places, a very influential program which also funded the ambitious site works exhibits put on by the Arts Festival of Atlanta in Piedmont Park during the 1980s.