By Carrie Havranek
Eric Von Arx ’87 is expressing his creativity through temporary installations he calls “momentary sculpture shows”—hyperminimalist sculpture typically just a foot tall.
It’s often spontaneous, mostly uninvited, and created with found objects.
“I want to capture the moment of inspiration,” says Von Arx, a professional artist.
He has placed his artwork where it will question the conventions and expectations of fame—the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art, the sidewalks outside the Louvre in Paris, and the Guggenheim in New York.
These events inevitably invite staring, pointing, and trampling.
“It’s fun. People come up to you, ask you questions, laugh,” says Von Arx.
His sculptures have been exhibited around the world, including large-scale wood and steel sculptures at New Jersey’s Block Island Sculpture Park and the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Show.
Thanks to prior success in real estate with his grandfather, Emil Von Arx Jr. ’33, whose generous support funded Von Arx Lounge in Skillman Library, he doesn’t have to create art for sale, so he doesn’t anymore.
“I’m driven to be solely influenced by the art itself,” says Von Arx. “If you are creating work with the thought to sell, you are going to be influenced. I like the fact that the works can’t be sold.”
In the 1990s, Vox Arx worked as a location scout in New York City for Bonfire of the Vanities, The Horse Whisperer, Independence Day, and other films. Wanting more freedom, he began working with copper and hanging out with blacksmiths, creating nonrepresentational pieces.
“I liked the idea of trying to do something new, not something you were taught in art school. I’m driven to break bounds,” says Von Arx, who works under the name XX Sculptures.
His niece, Alexandra Von Arx ’13, recently received honorable mention for her poem “Almost Famous” in Lafayette’s MacKnight Black poetry competition. Other family members include Brooks Von Arx ’59, his father, and Emil Von Arx III ’62, his uncle.
“There is something about Lafayette’s micro environment that nurtures and fortifies its inhabitants to a point that when they are released from the Hill they are ready to explode into the real world—even if it takes a few or many years,” says Von Arx, an economics and business graduate with a concentration in art history.
He recalls a studio art class with visiting lecturer Berrisford Boothe ’83, who encouraged him with the declaration, “You are an artist!”