Tag Archive | Serpent

Anselm Kiefer’s Uraeus Sculpture at Rockefeller Center

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Front View With Flowers
All Photos By Gail  (Thanks to Dave Manilow for The Tip on How to Get This Great Shot!)

Memorial Day Monday was not the hoped-for sunny day here in NYC, and the grey sky with threat of rain lent itself to indoor activities like Museum visits! Thus, I was inspired to head out to the Museum of Modern Art, followed by a short walk downtown to Rockefeller Center to see the new summer public artwork. This year’s monumental work is the first site-specific outdoor public sculpture ever to be commissioned for the United States from German artist Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945). Entitled Uraeus, the work consists of a gigantic open book with eagle’s wings 30 feet in span, both made of lead, on top of a 20-foot-tall lead-clad stainless steel column.

Uraeus Left Front with Pedestal

Clustered around the base of the column are further oversize lead books, while a large snake coils up the column (you can see the snake’s head rising up over the bottom edge of the open book). Lead is one of Kiefer’s preferred materials for its soft, fluid properties that are traditionally associated with alchemical transformation.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Side Front View

These photos will give you a better view of the statues platform with books scattered about, though it is not easy to get a shot without lots of people coming and going.

Uraeus Front with Pedestal

The sculpture’s cryptic title, Uraeus, refers to the erect shape of the Egyptian cobra, associated with the serpent goddess Wadjet and a symbol of power and divine authority. The wings evoke the headdresses and necklaces worn by Egyptian royalty in homage to the vulture goddess Nekhbet. Wadjet and Nekhbet were the guardians of Lower and Upper Egypt, respectively, and following ancient Egypt’s unification, became the joint patrons of the civilization. You can read more about the philosophy behind the sculpture at This Link.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Rear View

This is what the piece looks like shot from the rear and facing Fifth Avenue.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Side Rear View

Uraeus is no Seated Ballerina, but it’s worth checking out if you are in the area!

Anselm Kiefer’s Uraeus will be on View Through Jul 22nd, 2018 (expect that tenure to be extended) at the Fifth Avenue entrance to Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens, between 49th and 50th Streets, in Midtown Manhattan.Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Front View With Flowers 2

Walton Ford Watercolors at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Snake with Birds
Rhyndacus (2014) By Walton Ford (All Photos By Gail)

Paul Kasmin Gallery’s Tenth Avenue space is currently hosting Watercolors, an exhibit of new paintings by Walton Ford. For Watercolors, Ford continues to explore the visual and narrative scope of traditional natural history painting with his monumental watercolors, chronicling encounters between human culture and the natural world.

Walton Ford Tiger
The Tigress (2013)

Several pieces in this exhibition expand upon Ford’s longstanding practice of incorporating written marginalia in his work, and feature for the first time musings penned by the artist from the perspective of his animal subjects.

Walton Ford Baboon
Bosse-de-Nage 1898 – “HA HA!” (2014)

As in his previous work, Ford draws upon his ongoing natural history research, mining literary sources, folklore and historical anecdotes for inspiration and imagery. The painting Rhyndacus (2014) is derived from an account in Aelian’s De Natura Animalium. This ancient Roman miscellany of the natural world briefly mentions an impossibly large, sixty-foot serpent inhabiting Phrygia (present day Turkey) that was said to magically lure prey into its open maw. The artist has vividly realized the imaginary snake in a strikingly detailed portrait towering nearly 10 feet tall. By depicting native Turkish flora and fauna, Ford conjures a monstrously majestic Ancient Roman vision of the East.

Walton Ford Susie Gorilla
The Graf Zeppelin (2014)

In another work, The Graf Zeppelin (2014), Ford engages the story of Susie, the first female gorilla brought to the United States. She arrived in New York in 1929, having crossed the Atlantic in a first class cabin aboard the German airship. Ford depicts Susie mid-flight and has written marginalia from her point of view, carefully channeling her observations and state of mind.

Walton Ford Mandrill
Windsor, May 1829 (2014)

A third recent work, Windsor, May 1829 (2014), focuses on a formidable mandrill named “Happy Jerry” who lived in Edward Cross’s menagerie in London during the early nineteenth century. In his 1870 book Heads and Tales, Adam White describes Happy Jerry sitting at table, drinking port, smoking a clay pipe and dining with King George IV. Ford, again through meticulous research, recreates this unusual luncheon at Windsor. As he did with Susie, Ford incorporates Happy Jerry’s postprandial thoughts and sensations in the watercolor, writing from the primate’s point of view.

Because the paintings are behind glass, and owing to the natural light coming into the gallery from the street, capturing glare-free imagery in a photograph is quite challenging. So, let me just add that my photos do not do the works adequate justice and it is best to see them for yourself.

Walton Ford’s Watercolors will be on Exhibit through June 21st, 2014 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Locted on the corner of Tenth Avenue and West 27th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Walton Ford Signage