Glass Labyrinth

Visitors to the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park make their way slowly through the Glass Labyrinth. The labyrinth is one of the many sculptures and art pieces on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

Visitors to the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park make their way slowly through the Glass Labyrinth. The labyrinth is one of the many sculptures and art pieces on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

Glass Labyrinth Instructions, History and Details.

Glass Labyrinth Instructions, History and Details.

It was a beautiful day, the first day of September (humid, but you can’t escape that in Kansas City), perfect to explore the 22-acre Donald Hall J. Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. One of the art installations on the museum’s vast lawn is the Glass Labyrinth, designed by Kansas City native Robert Morris. Installed in 2013, the labyrinth is a 7-foot-tall triangular sculpture consisting of one-inch thick glass plate walls topped with bronze.

Neither of us had ever explored it before. We watched another person seemingly lost inside trying to make her way out. We stood at the entrance a while, deciding whether we wanted to be trapped inside, too.

Pat enters the Glass Labyrinth.

Pat entered first. I documented her trek with my camera. Would she ever return? Then I followed in her footsteps.  She was hurrying ahead to help the trapped woman. I could see them both, but couldn’t reach them.

I love to read everything but instructions, so I entered the glass labyrinth without knowing that you are to make your way to the center of the labyrinth and then retrace your steps to the entrance, which is also the exit. I did read that you need to move slowly, because it’s very easy to bump into a wall when you think it’s an opening. The glass is amazingly clean and clear. It helps to hold out your hand ahead of you. It was very warm inside the labyrinth, and it doesn’t take much to give you a feeling of panic at being trapped. After I reached what seemed to be the middle, I continued on (since I hadn’t fully read the instructions), finding dead ends. I turned around and walked back the way I came, thinking I had cheated by giving up, when I had actually taken the only path to get out. There was the entrance/exit! I was out!  Soon afterward, Pat led out the trapped woman. Freedom! I confess I felt a little dizzy.

Kansas City native Robert Morris designed this Glass Labyrinth, which is in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City native Robert Morris designed this Glass Labyrinth, which is in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

I'm in the center of the Glass Labyrinth at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. You can see a bit of my reflection.

I’m in the center of the Glass Labyrinth at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. You can see a bit of my reflection.

Robert Morris Visits His Glass Labyrinth for the First Time: A Slideshow and Article.

Click here to read about the Sculpture Park.

Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Glass Labyrinth

  1. My human wants to visit! Heaven help him, he’s confused enough already.

    • I would suggest leaving a trail behind you, but that’s probably frowned upon. 😉 Perhaps a ball of yarn would work. I found this on Wikipedia. “Ariadne fell in love with Theseus at first sight, and helped him by giving him a sword and a ball of thread, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.”

      • I’ve decided not to let the Geezer anywhere near a maze like the one you showed here. He walked into a glass window inside a Department Store. Of course, the models strutting around in Bs & Ps may have distracted him.

    • I did see a child run right into one of the walls, banging her head, so you are wise to keep your human from entering, unless enclosed in bubble wrap.

  2. What an amazing artwork Catherine! Enjoy reading it; loved the photos…

    • Thank you, Beth! I’ve been to the museum’s park many times, but never thought to check out the labyrinth since it was installed three years ago until this past week. I do get claustrophobic, even with glass walls.

  3. How brave to enter a glass trap (especially without first reading the instructions). With my claustro, I wouldn’t dare do it.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting, English Professor! Now that I’ve done it, I know the secret, so maybe it won’t be so daunting the next time. Wonder what it’s like in the snow? You could follow your own tracks back.

  4. How incredibly different, Catherine; I’ve not seen anything like this!
    I would definitely have to investigate, though, knowing the exit point makes this a less daunting task. Like you, I would have thought there must be a separate ‘exit’. And, knowing me, I too would have felt disappointed by having to retrace my steps… Haha… Sounds like this could be fun.

  5. I love labyrinths but have never seen a glass one. Interesting. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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