Windows to the West
Notice: Due to renovation as Scottsdale Civic Center, Windows to the West will be stored at a secure location before returning to the Civic Center when the renovations are complete, but it will be located in a spot closer to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Learn more.
On June 5, 1970, the City of Scottsdale was awarded a $20,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to commission a monumental work of art by “an outstanding American sculptor.” Scottsdale was the first small city to receive an endowment from the NEA’s new program, “Works of Art in Public Places.” In February 1972, after raising $20,000 in private contributions, the Scottsdale Fine Arts Commission selected Louise Nevelson to create her first large scale work in the Southwest.
The completed sculpture, formally titled Atmosphere and Environments XIII, but more affectionately called Windows to the West (because of its westward orientation) was dedicated in 1973. Since then, the sculpture has become one of Scottsdale’s signature works—a destination for citizens and visitors.
Louise Nevelson, known for her monochromatic abstract expressionist sculptures, is considered one of America’s leading sculptors of the twentieth century. Born on September 23, 1899, in Kiev, Russia, Louise Nevelson studied Cubist art with Hans Hofmann and later at the Art Students League in New York City. Nevelson began to attract attention in the early 1940s, and gained wide fame in the 1950s when museums began buying her work. Nevelson died in New York City in 1988.
This artwork contains AR components.
Taking care of public art is a full-time job. Meet Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art, as she shares the history of this piece and the work it takes to keep this art from going to the birds.