New Sculpture Installation—Andy Goldsworthy's Stone Sea


Stone Sea, a site-specific commission by world-renowned British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, has been installed at the Museum.

Stone Sea was inspired by St. Louis geology and the city's underlying base of limestone, formed more than 300 million years ago when the Midwest was covered by sea. Using limestone from a local quarry, Goldsworthy fabricated twenty-five arches, each measuring about ten feet high. The arches are densely arranged in the Courtyard adjoining the Main and new East buildings. Made of roughly cut stone, the arches produce a sense of fluidity reminiscent of the sea.

Stone Sea looks to the past, present, and future to celebrate the expansion of the Museum. It brings together many of the artist's key themes and goals: commitment to the arch form, exploration of enclosed spaces, merging of outside and inside, investigation of local material, and finally, connecting of people and place.


Stone Sea is visible through the windows of the Level 1 Concourse, Gallery 113, and Gallery 213, as well as from the South Terrace of the Main Building. Regular public hours to view the sculpture from within the Stone Sea courtyard will be established later this year.


It was challenging for an artist, such as myself who responds to place, to know what to make for a space that did not yet exist. However, trying to see beyond the surface appearance of things in an attempt to reveal what is there has always been of concern.

The courtyard is, for me, a hole. Anyone who knows my work will be aware of how important holes are to me. Holes have always been a means to explore what lies beneath the surface. The courtyard offered me the opportunity to reach through the building and work with its underlying nature in an attempt to understand the nature of the site, the nature of the building and the connections between the two.

Full Artist's Statement


Born in Cheshire, England (1956), and raised in Yorkshire, Andy Goldsworthy is an internationally recognized sculptor who lives in Scotland. A contemporary land artist, he is celebrated for monumental works, such as dynamic constructions of stone, as well as intimate gestures, including sculptures made of ice and delicate leaf assemblages arranged in natural settings. Living and working in close communication with natural landscapes since his youth has deeply informed Goldsworthy's site-specific approach to sculpture. At age 13, he was employed as a farm laborer, stacking hay bales and building sheep pens. This work shaped not only the artist's aesthetic, but also his technique—much of which relies on gravity, balance, and proportion.

Full Artist's Biography


Who is Andy Goldsworthy?

Andy Goldsworthy is a world-renowned sculptor who was born in North West England and now resides in Scotland. Growing up as a farm laborer, he developed a keen understanding of the relationship between place and people. Goldsworthy builds and photographs ephemeral sculptures made of natural materials like leaves or stones—work that has situated him as one of the foremost figures in contemporary land art. Drawing on a heritage of drystone construction in the rural landscape, he also produces permanent works which hinge on the balancing of stone and wood. Andy Goldsworthy is also an accomplished photographer committed to capturing his temporary and permanent works on film.

What does Stone Sea mean for the Museum?

Goldsworthy's work celebrates a dynamic, yet reflective, connection between people and place. One of his largest and most complex permanent installations to date, Stone Sea is a sensitive and apt way to celebrate the expansion of the Saint Louis Art Museum and what it means for the evolving landscape—natural and cultural—of St. Louis.

Where does Goldsworthy usually source materials? Where were the materials for Stone Sea found?

Goldsworthy is well known for his attention to the origin of his materials, whether found on-site or shipped across oceans. Known to work with everything from feathers and petals to ice, stone, and even manure, Goldsworthy uses materials that serve as the conceptual anchor of his works. In developing a large-scale, permanent sculpture for the Museum, Goldsworthy spent a great deal of time exploring the site and studying the geological history of St. Louis.

Ultimately, Goldsworthy selected local Missouri limestone from Earthworks Quarry in Perryville, Missouri, to form a grouping of 25 arches. The limestone not only complements the locally-sourced Missouri granite used in the new East Building, but also speaks to the ancient, aquatic history of the land beneath the Museum and the city of St. Louis.

Why the arches?

Goldsworthy asserts that for him, the arch form carries a sense of movement, transience, and exploration. The dense arrangement of arches gives the appearance of motion—of the arches taking a walk, even striding along. In Stone Sea, many arches flow together, filling the Courtyard between the Main Building and the East Building with the visual effect of liquid stone.

Where else has Goldsworthy shown work?

Though attached to the landscape of his Scottish home, Goldsworthy has created and installed temporary and permanent sculpture all over the world. His permanent works are housed in numerous museums and parks, including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England; The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Des Moines Art Center; the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York; and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. His temporary works have been shown at venues such as the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

What will be the best way to see the installed work?

The intricate process of installing Stone Sea, which required several months and the assistance of a massive crane, is visible through the windows of the Level 1 Concourse as well as Gallery 113, and from the South Terrace of the Main Building.


Press Inquiries:
Matthew Hathaway

For Photography & Filming:

Advertising & Marketing Inquiries:
Abigail Frohne

For Image Requests:

Press Kit

 • Press Release
 • Artist Biography
 • Artist Statement
 • Fact Sheet
 • Frequently Asked Questions
 • Image Sheet