New Sculpture, “Flukes,” Graces Waterfront Park

The MBL’s Waterfront Park in Woods Hole was enhanced this week with the installation of “Flukes,” a cast-bronze sculpture generously donated to the MBL by the artist, Gordon Gund of Princeton, New Jersey.

The sculpture was inspired by an encounter Gund had with pilot whales one summer on Nantucket Island. A pod of whales had come ashore and while scientists attempted to redirect the pod, Gund had the opportunity to touch one whale’s tail. “Flukes,” he says, “is an abstract form that is meant to be enjoyed visually and by touch. It is meant to be what the eyes and hands take it to be, especially, in part, as a symbol of joyful anticipation.”

Gordon Gund's "Flukes" is an abstract form inspired by the shape of a whale's tail.

Gordon Gund’s “Flukes” is an abstract form inspired by the shape of a whale’s tail.

The original “Flukes” was carved out of briarwood in the mid-1990s and is 4.5 inches high. The bronze casting of “Flukes” that the artist gave to the MBL is 6.5 feet high, weighs nearly 1,500 pounds, and has a base cut from Laurentian Green granite. It was completed in the fall of 2012.

“We are very grateful to Mr. Gund for sharing this wonderful sculpture with the MBL and with the many visitors to the Woods Hole Waterfront Park,” says MBL President and Director Joan Ruderman.

Gund, who has been working in wood, clay, and bronze for more than 30 years, is predominantly known for his successful endeavors as a businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He is the chairman and CEO of Gund Investment Corporation in Princeton, New Jersey; the lead director of the Kellogg Company board and formerly of the Corning, Inc., board; and is also the former majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers National Basketball Association team. In 1970, Gund lost his sight from retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and in 1971, along with his wife and others, he co-founded the Foundation Fighting Blindness to help find treatments and cures for RP and allied inherited retinal degenerative diseases. He serves as chairman of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland.