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Patrick Dougherty: Past Projects and Stickworks

Patrick Dougherty’s Public Sculpture

Disorderly Conduct

Sculpture Created February 2 -21, 2011

UPDATE:  Two of Disorderly Conduct’s towers collapsed on the afternoon of October 25, 2012. (The tower with the door and the one to its left in the photo below.) The structural support saplings were rotten and broke cleanly at the bases. No one was in or around the sculpture at the time and no foul play is suspected.

A close inspection by the Art Gallery director & curator and members of the Facilities staff revealed that the structural supports  in the remaining towers are weakened due to moisture. After consulting with the artist and his associates to determine if the remaining towers could be stabilized while retaining the artistic integrity of the sculpture, it was mutually agreed it would be best to remove the remaining towers.

A bonfire was held November 9 in the College Meadows and 7 of the towers were burned. The remaining eight towers were composted.



Internationally acclaimed Chapel Hill-based artist Patrick Dougherty  ( has added a new dimension to Guilford’s sustainability theme this winter with a monumental outdoor sculpture on the college quadrangle near Duke Memorial Hall. Dougherty has produced more than 200 installations around the world and uses only locally harvested tree saplings to weave giant, playful, nest-like architectural forms.

Patrick conceived his idea for Guilford’s sculpture after being shown a wasp nest found by a student volunteer during the sapling harvest. The columned structures of this sculpture aim to mimic the wasp’s dwelling and offer a similar cluster-like setting for the buzzing activity of students and Guilford visitors.

The artist has titled the monumental sculpture on the Quad Disorderly Conduct. According to the Dougherty, a good title should have multiple meanings, and this one might reference some of the wayward saplings that seem to have a mind of their own, or the tilt & sway of the individual structures, or the contrast of the circular towers made from sticks amongst the traditional, brick, Georgian architecture.

More than 125 volunteers, including students from Guilford, UNCG, N.C. A&T, and Canterbury School, alumni, faculty and staff and community members coming from as far as Charlottesville, Va., participated in the construction of the sculpture.

A crew from UNC Public Television’s Our State program filmed the sapling harvest, construction of the sculpture and interviewed Dougherty in his Chapel Hill home. The segment will air in October 2011.

The sculpture will remain on view for at least two years, as long as its condition remains sound. Copies of the artist’s book, Stickwork, recently published by Princeton Architectural Press, are available for sale in the College Bookstore.

An exhibition, Past Projects and Stickworks,  featuring photographs, drawings and models, spanning works created by Dougherty from 1987 to 2009 will be on display in

Hege Library,  January 10 – April 15, 2011.

 Click here for photos of the Guilford College Patrick Dougherty Sculpture Project


 Guilford College’s presentation of Stickworks is supported with an investment from the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro. This project received support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.