Eric Orr, a pioneer of the California Light and Space Movement of the late 1960s, was an artist whose works centred on natural phenomena such as fire, water and vapour clouds with the intention of eliciting visceral responses from viewers. Gibbs asked Orr to add lightning to his repertoire by commissioning him to create a huge sculpture that would throw lightning bolts.
There was little in the way of engineering precedents to draw on and the result was the largest Tesla coil in the world on a tower four storeys high that generates three million volts of electricity. The primeval artificial lightning it creates is a fitting tribute to Orr as it is his last major work, as well as standing in homage to the pioneer electrical engineer Nikola Tesla.
Eric Orr (1939 - 1998) was born in Covington, Kentucky and died in Venice, California. He attended the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Mexico; the New School for Social Research; the Ecole de Paraphysiques in Paris; and the University of Cincinnati. He was one of the
pioneers of the Light and Space art movement, which coalesced in California in the late 1960’s. Orr’s works have been exhibited in numerous group and solo shows and are housed in collections of many major art institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the
Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco; Den Haag Gemeentemuseum, Netherlands; the Panza Collection, Milan; and the Museum Sztuki W. Lodzi, Lodz, Poland.