Art Type
Media / Materials
Year Completed
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of John and Mary Pappajohn, 2015.10.a-.b
Latitude & Longitude
Location Description
Within the north central area of the Sculpture Park, along Grand Avenue between 15th and 13th Streets.


Share This Page

Tony Cragg’s Order combines two motifs-the three-lobed body of a trilobite (a marine fossil) and a vessel from a laboratory.

Cragg uses a plethora of materials and references for his sculpture, reduced here to a pair of simple primordial forms, but with a wider message. In their original state, trilobites may be around 4 cm in length; seen under the microscope. Here the artist enlarged the image for you to see the form and understand it. But Cragg’s sculpture is not straightforward, there is also an underlying threat of unease.

The sculptures also evoke feelings of unease, suggesting disease, engineering, and evolution gone wrong, which is reinforced by the multiple meanings of the word “order”. It refers specifically to the biological classification system (life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species), but also implies phrases such as “natural order” or “order of things”, and its antonym – disorder, which these unruly creatures embody.