In Arlene Shechet’s sculpture, past, present, and future are subtly intertwined. For Travel Light (2017) she begins with pair of candlesticks that her grandmother brought from Belarus in 1920; the only material objects that the family possesses from their country of origin.
As she sought to learn more about them, Shechet uncovered long-forgotten family documents, from which she was able to track-down previously unknown relatives. The work is a functioning candelabrum grown from the old candlesticks; like them, it may be used for the Sabbath ceremony.
Three more iterations of the work are planned. The artist has embedded an image of the cover of her grandmother’s passport in the sculpture and will ask each subsequent owner to give her a cherished family record, which she will also embed in the piece. Thus, Travel Light will accumulate new stories, as a suitcase acquires travel labels, embracing the future as well as the past.
The Death of Munrow (circa 1820 – 30), a glazed earthenware figure group by an unknown artist, records a specific historic event in 1791, in which Hugh Munrow, a British soldier, was killed by a tiger in India. Its composition was inspired by an almost life-size wooden automaton of a tiger killing a European that was owned by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore in India. Tipu’s Tiger was seized by the British army in 1799 and brought to London, where it was placed on public display.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
Felt works by Robert Morris, including this piece entitled Pink Felt (1970) embody his notion of Anti-Form. Instead of executing a predetermined design, Morris allowed the final outcome of a sculpture to be determined as much by his simple actions (cutting and draping the material) as by gravity and chance.
Pink Felt, Detail
A departure from earlier, unitary geometric forms of the Minimalist sculptures that the created in the 19603, Morris’s felt works, including Pink Felt, foreground the physical qualities of his materials and the artist’s physical process.
“Disengagement with preconceived enduring forms and orders for things is a positive assertion,” the artist writes in his 1968 essay, Anti Form. “It is part of the work’s refusal to continue estheticizing form by dealing with it as a prescribed end.”
In NYC, you will come across amazing discoveries every few feet if you just keep your eyes open. I was walking to the train from a fun visit to the newly-reopened Metropolitan Museum of Art when this unique, wrought iron sculptural door caught my eye. And how could it not: It looks like a medieval Dragon is struggling to burst forth from behind a cage onto the sidewalk! Very Scary!
While I did not want to trespass onto private property, I did sneak a bit closer so that I could get a good detail shot of the Dragon’s head. It is super cool! I have no clue who the artist is but what an awesome thing to have designed to make this building stand out. I wonder if Game of Thrones fans live there?
They’ve also kept the design cohesive by adding these spider-web-like guards to the first floor windows. This place is officially ready for Halloween all year long. Well done!
These Architectural Features are Part of a Five-Story, Three-Unit Building (According to Street Easy, Although I Suspect it’s a Private Home) Located at 52 East 81st Street between Madison and Park, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
The idea for this work began when Salvador Dalí discovered an inkwell illustrated with the praying couple (from Jean-Francois Millet’s painting The Angelus, 1857–59). He embedded the inkwell in a loaf of bread and placed them both on the portrait bust of a woman.
In 1931, Dalí described Surrealist sculpture as “created wholly for the purpose of materializing in a fetishistic way, with maximum tangible reality, ideas and fantasies of a delirious character.” Retrospective Bust of a Woman (1933) not only presents a woman as an object, but explicitly as one to be consumed. A baguette crowns her head, cobs of corn dangle around her neck, and ants swarm along her forehead as if gathering crumbs. Ants, of course, are a common reoccurring motif in Dali’s work.
Ghada Amer, Happily Ever After (2005) Image Courtesy of the Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery
A summer without art is no summer at all. If you’re an art fan who misses going to museums, keeping up with local galleries and exploring art fairs as much as I do, then you will be excited to learn that the second edition of Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center will usher out the summer with one-month outdoor exhibit of works by six internationally renowned artists: Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez, Andy Goldsworthy, Lena Henke, Camille Henrot and Thaddeus Mosley. The site-specificworks will be installed in open, public locations throughout Rockefeller Plaza, allowing for ample social distancing space in compliance with all City and State guidelines. Offering free admission to all, Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center will be on display from September 1st through October 2, 2020.
Curated by Brett Littman (Director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York), the second edition is inspired by the site’s and the city’s natural materials of earth, rock, and plants, and by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the original date when the exhibit was scheduled to debut. Participating artists have responded to that inspiration, with five of them creating major new site-specific works.
Works on display in the Rockefeller Center program include:
Image Courtesy of the Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery
Ghada Amer (Goodman Gallery, Marianne Boesky): Egypt-born New York-based artist Ghada Amer presents an ambitious garden installation, titled Women’s Qualities. The piece was first conceptualized and installed in Busan, South Korea, in 2000 after the artist undertook a simple study, asking members of the public what qualities they found most important in women. 20 years on, the artist revisits the piece in New York, combining gender stereotypes that she encountered in Busan in 2000 with perspectives from Americans in 2020. The responses are written with flowers to create a living portrait of the impossible “woman ideal.”
Andy Goldsworthy (Galerie Lelong & Co.): Red Flags (2020) is a major new installation looking at the contexts of flags – their inherent and potential meanings – in one of New York’s most iconic flag flying sites. Goldsworthy replaces Rockefeller Center’s flags with flags colored with earth gathered from each of the 50 states.
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.
Zuccotti Park in the Financial District is perhaps most famous for being ground zero for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it’s also home to several pieces of monumental public art. For example, behold this bright red, 70-foot-high painted steel installation by sculptor Mark di Suvero, entitled Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life), which went up at the corner of Broadway and Cedar Street in June 2006. The sculpture is comprised of “open-ended tetrahedrons” as described by di Suvero, and was formerly located at the Holland Tunnel rotary.
Update: I was in the area on July 25th and took a couple of new shots (above and below). You can see the city has put barriers around the sculpture to keep people from congregating in the park.
Brooklyn-based artist John Mosler’s first large-scale outdoor sculpture, Decusatio – meaning Intersection in Latin – is now installed on the terrace at Norwood, the historic townhouse and private members club at 241 West 14th Street. The figurative work was informed by its 14th Street location which, for many, has come to serve as a delineation point between uptown and downtown.
Placed on the balcony, Decusatio is hard to miss; rising over eight feet tall, and painted in a vibrant yellow hue. The work offers a conceptual framework that is intended to respect and enhance the Club and its history, while simultaneously connecting to the location, activity and history in the surrounding area.
Decusatio’s placement required innovative technical and engineering applications by the artist to ensure it was light enough to be easily placed on a metal balcony, while also durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements. Mosler offers, “The figurative over tone and the bright yellow color is intended to capture the intersection of humanity and the vibrant human interaction in the surrounding physical environment.”
Martin Kesselman, color influencer and owner of INCOLOUR, worked with Mosler on finding the right hue. “Yellow tends to be perceived in many different ways, more so than other colors,” he explains. “We wanted to stay clear of a frosty cast, one that may veer green. Natural exterior light can play some trickery, so we had to walk that warm and cool fine line.”
The Andrew Norwood House is an elegant urban residence designed in a transitional style which combines Greek revival and italianate features. A remarkably preserved slice of early Victorian architecture and lifestyle – both inside and out; the House is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.In 2007 Alan Linn opened Norwood Club, a bustling five-story club with more than 1,100 members ranging from 21 to 80 years old. Its ranks include architects, artists, fashion designers, musicians, media moguls, and art collectors.
Jeff Koons’ Woman in Tub (1988) combines a cartoon-like rendering of a nude woman startled by a submerged snorkeler with the exquisite, hard-paste porcelain finish of typical 18th-century Rococo figurines. Part of Koons‘ Banality series, which is characterized by oddly eroticized, comic and kitsch images, this work takes personal taste — good and bad — as its primary subject.
Koons has explained the work’s biographical origin:
When I was a kid, my grandparents had an ashtray on a table in their television room. It was a small porcelain of a girl in a bathtub. It was white, with pink and blue details, and the legs went back and forth. As a kid, I was mesmerized. My Woman in Tub comes from that, though it references [the toiletry scenes painted by] Manet and Degas. I had such as experience of awe looking at that object.