Sidwell Friends School and hundreds of parents, alumni, and friends paid tribute Tuesday evening to former LS principal Rich Lodish and former Head of School Bob Smith at the Meeting House and Arts Center ribbon cutting.
Untitled Robot, a contemporary sculpture by Nam June Paik recently donated to Sidwell Friends, was unveiled at the event. Informally renamed the Principal Lodish Robot, the sculpture was donated in honor of Lodish, who led the Bethesda elementary school campus for 35 years.
The presentation took place in the Robert L. Smith Meeting Room, which is named in honor of the school’s sixth head of school. Smith expressed his deep gratitude for the tribute. The room, which lies in the heart of campus, “matches the simplicity that Friends believe in with a certain kind of architectural beauty,” Smith said. “I like to think that this room is going to go on for years and years and years influencing the lives and outlooks and spirits and the interiorities of generations and generations of Sidwell people.”
Head of School Tom Farquhar, Board of Trustees clerk Katie Smith Sloan, and former parent Rodney Slater also spoke at the event before Farquhar, Smith, and Sloan ceremoniously cut the red ribbon on a set of meeting room doors.
Nam June Paik (1923-2006) was a towering figure in contemporary art. The Korean-born artist pioneered video art, performance art, and media art—in short, much of contemporary art today. He created several robots as sculpture, including the innovative Robot K-456 in 1964 and the “Family of Robots” in the 1980s. Untitled Robot (2005) is one of the last in this distinguished line and was donated by Paik’s nephew and his wife, former SFS parents Ken and Marylou Hakuta. The sculpture is one of only two Paik sculptures at educational institutions—the other is at Harvard University—and is on display outside the meeting room.