Sugar Land, TX – A year-long sculpture exhibition by internationally renowned French artist Bernar Venet was officially unveiled at Oyster Creek Park on January 25, 2011.

The event marks a milestone in Sugar Land’s goal as a destination location for the fine arts.

More than 20 international cities have hosted a Venet exhibition, including Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, New York and Chicago.

The large-scale sculpture garden has been sited by the artist and the McClain Gallery, of Houston, in seven locations throughout Oyster Creek Park, one of the City of Sugar Land’s premier community parks.

The interactive walking tour will allow visitors to use cell phones to hear messages provided by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in which the artist explains his inspiration and vision for the sculpture.

The monumental sculptures are constructed of cor-ten steel, stand up to 30 feet high and weigh up to 25,000 pounds, or 12 tons. The exhibition officially opened to the public on January 28.

“This exhibition supports our goal to provide and support activities and facilities that enrich the artistic, cultural, educational and historical character of Sugar Land,” said Sugar Land Mayor James Thompson. “We are thrilled to host the Bernar Venet exhibition, which will draw attention to Sugar Land as a venue for creative and distinctive artwork.”

The exhibition is funded by Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) which may be used only to promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. The limited uses of HOT include the encouragement, promotion, improvement, and application of the arts.

“It has often been said that great civilizations are judged and remembered by the art they leave behind,” said City Manager Allen Bogard. “The City of Sugar Land has committed itself to investing in the arts and in cultural enterprises. This exhibition is a giant step forward in meeting that commitment.”

According to the McClain Gallery:

French artist, Bernar Venet, whose long and distinguished career dates back to the 1960s, first began producing monumental linear improvisations in steel in the early 1980s. His sculptures, soon to be on view in Sugar Land, are from the series “Arcs,” “Straight Lines” and Indeterminate Lines" and are considered by many to be his trademark work. His sculptures have been exhibited in major cities in the United States, Asia, Europe and South America, including Paris, Luxembourg, Geneva, Basel, Cologne, Brussels, New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Denver.

As one of the world’s most important and talked about artists today, Venet’s sculptures have been acquired by museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The National Gallery of Art, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Switzerland, National Museum of Jakarta, Sonje Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, The Milwaukee Art Museum and The Detroit Institute of Arts.

Simply stated, Venet’s sculptures study variations of lines – specifically of arcs and curves. However, it is the scope of the work in its mass, concept and execution that make Venet one of the most prominent living sculptors today. Each series expresses different notions of Venet’s interest in the mathematics of order versus chaos. Using a technique that has been described as “Action Sculpture in slow motion,” Venet carefully balances his vision for the material with the steel's natural responses to the warping effects of pressure and heat.