All About “Juno”
Guest Post by Kaitlyn Hirst
Is it an abstract gorilla? A large elephant? Is it a jungle gym? A monument to waterslides? The sculpture in front of the BYU Museum of Art has welcomed visitors since the very first day that the doors opened in 1993. It’s impossible to walk into the MOA without noticing the large, looming bronze sculpture at the base of the front steps. This sculpture is titled “Juno” and was created by American sculptor Reuben Nakian (1897-1986). The modern and abstract piece stumps viewers as to what it could be, but perhaps the title gives a clue. Juno is the Roman goddess, and matriarch over the other Roman gods and goddesses. She was also seen as the protector of the community. Many of Nakian’s other abstract sculptures are also named after antiquity gods and goddess or commemorate events from ancient mythology.
Juno is composed of six large block-like supports on that bottom that support the top arrangement of blocks. Due to the wonderfully textured bronze surface of the statue, it almost looks like parts of a rock wall fell off nearby Rock Canyon and this is the result. In fact, you may see the mountains’ peaks reproduced in the sculpture. As one walks around the statue it is very different from different angles. A curving line may be obvious in one area, but if one moves just a few feet than that line is no longer visible. The fluid composition of the piece is enticing and alluring. This 4,900-pound bronze sculpture had to be lifted up by a crane to position it where it sits today in front of the MOA, 365 days a year. It gets snowed on, rained on and during the summer don