I’ve been fortunate to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art probably half a dozen times since it reopened last July, post-Covid lockdown, but the building’s roof garden only just reopened in April, for the debut of its latest site-specific commission. As Long As The Sun Lasts, by Philadelphia-based artist Alex Da Corte, is a whimsical mash up of Sesame Street and the works of Alexander Calder that could light up the rooftop even on the cloudiest day.
In the absence of any organized celebrations for the holiday, I spent the afternoon of July 4th stretching my legs in midtown and enjoying the sites ‘on exhibit’ in the museum of the streets. At the southwest corner of Madison Avenue and 57th Street, I paused to appreciate a monumental sculpture that I’ve been passing by for years now, which is Alexander Calder’s bright orange, steel installation known as Saurien.
Saurien reaches a height of 18 feet at its tallest point, and the piece reminds me of one of Louis Bourgeois‘ monumental spiders, in that it stretches its ‘legs’ across the entrance to the IBM building, inviting visitors to walk under and around it. Although I’ve never read this in a formal description of the sculpture, one critic has claimed that this Calder is clearly meant to represent a dinosaur, with its stegosaurus-like spikes emerging from the top two arches. I can see that.
The irregular-edged, top forms inspired me to take this shot, with the spikes set in contrast against the skyline. Artsy!
While Calder is most famous for his kinetic sculptures and delicate, hanging mobiles, Saurien is an example of the artist’s fixed work, which are called stabiles. Saurien was created in Calder’s Connecticut studio in 1975.
Alexander Calder’s Saurien is Located in Front of the IBM Building in Midtown, at 590 Madison Avenue, on the Southwest Corner at 57th Street, NYC.
Summer doesn’t last forever, especially in NYC, so why not plan to enjoy the nice weather while we have it by spending as much time outside in beautiful places as possible? Just do it!
Maybe you are already a huge fan of Art, but weren’t aware that the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has a gorgeous, landscaped sculpture garden that provides a relaxing oasis in the center of Manhattan. It’s only open when the weather is nice, so you need to go now.
The Sculpture Garden is named for Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, an American socialite and philanthropist who was the wife of financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. Mrs. Rockefeller was known for being the driving force behind MOMA’s creation. It is nice that they named the sculpture garden for her.
Artist Tim Hawkinson explores the fourth dimension with his 2007 Gimbled Klein Basket, which creates an analog rendering of an impossible object. With a porous, gridded bamboo structure, Hawkins then recreated the Klein Bottle and suspended it from the ceiling like a Calder mobile, envisioning an object which is at once knowable, and of another dimension. This video was created at the Pace Gallery on W. 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District, as part of the Eureka exhibit, which has now closed.
It’s not even June, but it already feels like the galleries are winding down for a summer of dormancy. Opera Gallery in Soho just launched a group show, Contemporary Masters, that contains a few interesing pieces but had a surprisingly low Wow Factor. Here are a few pieces that stood out for me.
It’s always fun to see a Warhol and a Haring. Their stuff never gets old to me.
French artist/sculptor Arman, perhaps best known for his deconstructed violins, has this awesome piece made with broken china suspended in plexiglass. Really gorgeous.
Sculptor David Mach has a few interesting works in the show, including two sculptures made from wire coat hangers. This towering Standing Gorilla is in the front window but I could not get a good shot of it from the street. It’s pretty cool though.
If you’ve been to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx then you’ve seen the seven gigantic replicas of the statue above, by Spanish artist Manolo Valdes, scattered about the grounds. The title translates to “Head with Silver Butterflies.” I like it.
When I think of Calder, I mostly assosciate his name with playful, minimalist mobiles. This painting by him is lovely.
Opera Gallery is Located at 115 Spring Street in Soho, New York, NY 10012.