Museum of Fine Arts in St Pete Presents Compelling Art Installation By Piotr Janowski


This past summer, Piotr Janowski made international headlines after creating a large-scale installation at his rented home in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Using aluminum foil, he wrapped every inch of his bungalow and driveway, as well as the palm trees on the property. He also added sculptural elements, reminiscent of the human ear. Some of his neighbors complained vociferously, and the media covered the story extensively.

Inspired by the light and vegetation of Florida, Mr. Janowski aimed to highlight the artistry of nature. He wrote: “The meticulously applied and highly reflective medium invites the viewer to explore every groove and hair of the bark. It does this mainly by exceptionally strong reflectance at sharp angles, and an unpredictable, scrambled appearance of colors and light coming in from the surrounding environment. In the uncovered palm tree, expected colors and shadows conceal the natural complexity and beauty to the viewer. Paradoxically, the installation is revealing through concealing.”  Now Mr. Janowski is preparing an art installation outside of the Museum of Fine Arts.


St. Petersburg. He will apply aluminum foil to eight palm trees around the MFA and will again attach abstract forms, suggestive of the human ear. While the MFA has previously shown sculpture outside, this is the first time a large-scale, contemporary installation has been created for the grounds. The Museum’s popular kapok tree, a city landmark, will not be wrapped. (ABOVE)

Curiosity will officially open on Thursday, December 3, with a reception at 5:30 p.m. on the front steps of the Museum. The artist will be present, and a cash bar will be available. The installation will remain on view through Sunday, February 14, 2016. Curiosity is sponsored by Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil.

Public art is a controversial topic, and its context is paramount to its understanding. Curiosity raises many issues. How does the perception of a work change with its placement? Does a museum setting confer greater acceptance and encourage more engagement? How does the installation, which can be seen by everyone, enlarge the Museum’s presence in the community or alter views of the MFA itself? What are the similarities and differences between the artist’s intent and audience reaction?  These and many more questions will be explored at a luncheon panel discussion on public/private art on Monday, December 7, at noon. In addition to Mr. Janowski, the panel will include Robin Nigh, Manager of Public Programs for the City of Tampa, and architectural historian Kyle Pierson. Katherine Pill, the MFA’s Assistant Curator of Art after 1950, will be the moderator.

This program is presented by The Contemporaries, a Museum support group. Tickets are $5 (lecture only), plus Museum admission, for the general public; $10 (lecture and lunch) for Contemporaries members; and $15 (lecture and lunch), plus MFA admission, for nonmembers of The Contemporaries. To order, please go to or call 727.896.2667, ext. 210. Lunch reservations must be made by Friday, December 4, at 3 p.m.

Although Curiosity began as a means to explore the land and light of Florida, Mr. Janowski’s practice is evolving to incorporate issues of sustainable energy. His goal is to eventually create sculpture that generates electricity, resulting in highly functional, contemporary artworks.  Piotr Janowski (born in Poland in 1962) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, Poland and at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions at Stawski Gallery, Palace of the Arts, in Cracow; The Polish Museum of America in Chicago; the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, in Warsaw; and Laudon Studio, in Vienna, where he currently lives. This is his first installation at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.