Sculpture Clock – Minneapolis, Minnesota - Atlas Obscura

Sculpture Clock

This 1960s kinetic artwork has been restored and is once again whirling away in downtown Minneapolis. 


This fantastic clock with its interior mobile art installation was built in 1968 by kinetic artist Jack Nelson. For almost 30 years, the intricate perpetual motion timepiece spun and whirled around the clock (so to speak). It was a beloved fixture of downtown Minneapolis.

The huge clock is over 10 feet tall and made up of more than 600 parts. Within its glass case is a brass mobile that is both hypnotic and beautiful. Dozens of pieces whirl and spin in different directions and speeds, creating a mesmerizing effect.

By 2015, however, the complex clock had fallen into disrepair. The motion had stopped. But thanks to a grant from a local historical society, the midcentury modern artwork was repaired. It sits again on Nicollet Mall, two blocks south of its original position.

Now restored, the brass gleams in the sun, reflecting flashes of light as the mechanism continually changes the angles of the various mobile parts. It is not a work with particularly great meaning, but it is a delightful thing to look at and a real masterpiece of mechanical engineering.

Know Before You Go

Correcting current location's relationship to original spot. Also, more than one historical organization exists.

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