Posts tagged with "Sculpture":

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When the Brooklyn Heights Library is demolished, what will happen to the art on its facade?

Community members and preservationists are worried that a local developer will pull a Trump on a Brooklyn library and send its art to the trash. In an unusual move, New York–based Hudson Companies this week filed plans to demolish the Brooklyn Heights Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West before they close on a deal for the site with its owner, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). Despite assurances that the art on the facade will be saved, city officials haven't issued a commitment in writing to preserve the work. If all permits are approved by the Department of Buildings (DOB), exterior demolition could begin in January to make way for a 36-story, mixed-use tower designed by Brooklyn-based Marvel Architects. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported this week that the branch, which closed in July and now operates out of temporary quarters, wants to get up and running inside the new building as soon as possible to minimize disruption to patrons. (Marvel Architects is also designing the new library.) As part of the BPL's $300 million capital repair campaign, the deal with Hudson and this new—smaller—library will generate a surplus $40 million in funds that will go towards renovations at other branches. The Business & Career Library, long headquartered at the Brooklyn Heights branch, moved to the main library this summer, though the neighborhood branch will retain specialized services for freelancers and entrepreneurs when it reopens. The reduced size of the new library caught the community's attention and the deal behind the site attracted the feds. In May, the New York Post reported that federal and city prosecutors are investigating whether the $52 million redevelopment deal was a quid pro quo for contributions to Mayor Bill de Blasio's nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York. Hudson's winning bid for the library site was a full $6 million less than another developer's. Although ongoing investigations will not affect the demolition timeline, the fate of the library's facade is still undecided. The six bas-reliefs by artist Clemente Spampinato surround the main entrance and depict industry and businesses; crafts; sciences; knowledge; literature; and arts. In New York, his architectural work graces the auditoria, gyms, and facades of public schools in the five boroughs. Back in 2011, Brownstoner contributor Suzanne Spellen (a.k.a. Montrose Morris) praised the library's art when she dismissed its "not great architecture." Designed by architect Francis Keally, one of the architects behind the main branch at Grand Army Plaza, the building opened in 1962 but looks like a throwback to the WPA era. Separated from the neoclassical post office and courthouses across the street by a grand allée on Cadman Plaza Park, it defines the character of the corridor despite its design shortcomings. Advocacy groups Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL) and Love Brooklyn Libraries, Inc. fought hard to keep the library open in its original building, but are now hoping that at least Spampinato's work will be preserved in some capacity. "There's a longstanding tradition of incorporating art into the grand civic architecture of public libraries. From the [NYPL's] Main Branch on 5th Avenue to the library on Grand Army Plaza, art is an integral part of the identity of New York library systems," said Michele Bogart, professor of art history at Stony Brook University and former vice president of the Art Commission (now the Public Design Commission). A Carroll Gardens resident, Bogart suggested the BPL should incorporate the reliefs, which are 20 feet tall and 11 feet wide, into the new tower's branch as an important continuation of tradition and a gesture to the neighborhood losing its public facility. In addition to architectural sculpture adorning libraries, there is a venerable history of spolia in New York's public works. Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a preservation advocacy group, said the reliefs could be repurposed in another municipal capacity, like the Marine Grill's opulent mosaic murals greet straphangers at Fulton Street. Alternatively, preservation activist Theodore Grunewald said the library reliefs could go to a museum, citing the Pegasus sculptures from the Coney Island High Pressure Pumping Station that now live in the Brooklyn Museum's extensive collection of architectural objects. The Public Design Commission (PDC) reviewed Spampinato's pieces when they were installed in 1963, Bogart said, and the PDC still has a chance to weigh in on the significance of the library sculpture. A spokesperson for the developer confirmed in an email that the reliefs will be saved in some capacity: “Hudson Companies will carefully remove the reliefs and store them for the duration of the construction period. The ultimate decision for the reuse will be made by the Brooklyn Public Library, which is committed to making sure they are preserved either at the new branch or another location." Echoing Hudson, a spokesperson for the BPL confirmed that the library will make the final decision about the reliefs, although there is no confirmation yet about whether "another location" means a different branch or another entity like a museum or private collection. At press time, Marvel Architects could not be reached to discuss plans for incorporating the reliefs into the new library, and PDC executive director Justin Garrett-Moore could not be reached for comment on the commission's plans, if any.
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Yours for $150,000: this lead fish sculpture by Frank Gehry

Up for auction at Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is a 44-inch long, 14-inch wide, and 12-inch high lead fish. Made by Frank Gehry between 1987 and 1988, the untitled sculpture was a custom commission for the Toronto offices of advertising agency Chiat/Day. The work also comes complete with a white enameled bathtub; the fish rests on glass that mimics water. Mark Linder, author of Nothing Less than Literal, studied Gehry's fascination with the figure of the fish. Linders detailed how fish have been prevalent in Gehry's life since he was a boy. When living in Toronto, Gehry's grandma, Lillian Caplan, would keep live carp in the bath, using them to make gefilte fish for traditional Jewish Sabbath suppers. Perhaps that was the inspiration for Gehry's lead creation? Speculation may, however, may be all we can do—the end of the line (pardon the pun). Speaking in the Globe and Mail, Gehry rubbished any fishy connections between Caplan's carp and his architecture, saying that they have "nothing to do with that house, nothing to do with the fish in the bathtub."

According to Linder, though, Gehry viewed the fish as an "empty signifier." Being "architecturally dumb," the fish's abstraction from architecture allowed the celebrated Canadian architect to "rethink architectural forms" from a withdrawn perspective. The fish was "anti-architecture" and "anti-humanist." Gehry played with these ideas at a time when referencing history and humanist themes were prevalent postmodern qualities in architecture.

Peter Loughrey, director of Modern Design & Fine Art, said in a press release:
Probably more than any architect, Gehry liked to incorporate fine art and sculpture into his work. More freedom was available to him as an artist than with buildings. In 1970s he liked cardboard because it’s a material where you go from concept to prototype to finished product in one day. Gehry identifies as a an artist more than any other architect.
The fish and bathtub is currently estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Bids can be made online here.
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Look up at Chicago’s newest lakefront sculpture

Debuting during this year’s EXPO Chicago, Chicago’s lakefront will soon be home to a 33.3-foot-tall stainless steel figure. The sculpture, entitled Looking Up (2015) was produced by American artist Tom Friedman. In a collaboration between the Chicago Parks District, Luhring Augustine, New York and the Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, the gigantic figure will be on display at 4800 S. Lake Shore Drive from September 21, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The one-year exhibition will add to the parks already diverse and expansive collection of art pieces throughout the city. “With a permanent collection of more than 300 world-class fountains, monuments and sculptures scattered throughout Chicago’s parks, the Chicago Park District is proud to be a destination for world-class artists to come to exhibit their renowned artworks,” said Chicago Park District CEO and Superintendent Michael P. Kelly in a press release. “Public art not only serves to beautify our open green spaces, but it also provides patrons with even more access to cultural opportunities in our parks.” The second in an edition of three, Looking Up was recently installed for six months at the intersection of Park Avenue and 53rd Street in New York City. The first of the edition is permanently installed at The Contemporary Austin, Texas, as part of the Laguna Gloria Campus. The installation of the sculpture will be something of a homecoming for Friedman, who received his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1990. Friedman’s work involves the use of crushed aluminum foil, and other distorted and distressed metal objects, which are used as part of a molding and lost wax casting technique. Coinciding with the new addition to the lakefront will be the 5th annual EXPO Chicago, an international exposition of contemporary and modern art. EXPO will include work from 145 galleries from 22 countries from September 22 through September 25, at Navy Pier.
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An exhibition offers in-depth insight into artist Barbara Kasten’s career

The touring exhibition Barbara Kasten: Stages will arrive at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA) this summer, following presentations at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and the Graham Foundation in Chicago. The exhibition collects works from four decades in the artist’s career, from the 1970s to present. Barbara Kasten: Stages is the first major survey of the artist’s work, incorporating her sculptures and photography with documentation of her artistic process. According to curator Alex Klein, “stages” refers both to the stages of the artist’s career and her own process of staging sculptures in space.

The exhibition includes many of Kasten’s most well-known photographs from the Architectural Sites series, in which she abstracted works of postmodern architecture, like Frank Gehry’s Loyola Law School using an elaborate staging of light, sculpture, and mirrors and then printed them using the dye-destruction method Cibachrome for better depth of color and clarity. Stages will also include Kasten’s work with cyanotypes, which use the same technique used to make blueprints, and her early work with furniture sculptures.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Center 8687 Melrose Avenue West Hollywood, CA 90069 Through August 14

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Help save this folk art landmark in the middle of Detroit

Hatch Art has launched a crowd-funding campaign to save a quirky and kinetic piece of folk art in their hometown of Hamtramck, Michigan, a city of a little over 20,000 surrounded by the city of Detroit. The non-profit art organization is raising $50,000 for a comprehensive renovation of the site. Formerly the home of Dymtro Szylak, an auto-worker turned sculpture artist, was affectionately nicknamed “Hamtramck Disneyland” for its bright colors, lights, and eclectic collection of pop-culture iconography. Szylak worked on the installation above his garage for thirty years, from his retirement from General Motors until his death in 2015. The project is adorned with images of Disney characters and painted in bright colors inspired by its namesake theme park. Syzlak assembled everything by hand, including colorful windmills and other moving sculptures. Part of the charm of Hamtramck Disneyland is its unlikely location, in a residential neighborhood of a relatively unknown city. Hamtramck was a hotspot for European immigrants like Syzlak, who came to the United States from Ukraine. The sculpture was initially unpopular with Syzlak’s neighbors and the city council, but thousands of tourists have since made the pilgrimage to Hamtramck and were often greeted by the artist himself. Hatch Art purchased the property in May 2016 to preserve Hamtramck Disneyland as a folk art landmark. A group of volunteers is currently working to make critical structural repairs to the site, and to rewire and replace the mechanical parts and lights that bring the sculpture to life. They also plan to retrofit the interiors of the garages into a public art space and an artist’s studio. The crowd-funding campaign seeks to raise $50,000 by August 20, which will be matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan State Development Authority for a total of $100,000 if the campaign is successful. Hatch Art is also looking for volunteers to help with the restoration.
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A new book showcases Donald Judd’s use of Cor-ten steel

From the late 1980s until his death in 1994, artist Donald Judd used Cor-ten weathering steel in many sculptures. The 72 page Donald Judd: Cor-ten—from David Zwirner Books—features those works in detail. The book includes an interview with Judd conducted by Kunstbulletin editor-in-chief Claudia Jolles and an introduction by his son Flavin. Donald Judd was commonly associated with minimalism, a term the artist personally rejected despite his important influence on the movement. His work in sculpture consisted mostly of simple, abstract shapes that emphasized the principles of color and space. Judd also designed furniture but considered his design practice to be distinctly separate from his art practice. In his writings, he explained that the practical intent of furniture design was philosophically incompatible with the artistic intent of his sculpture. Donald Judd: Cor-ten is an exploration not only of the artist but also of the industrial material itself. Cor-ten is the popular name for weathering steel, which was originally developed for use in coal carrying train cars. When left outdoors and exposed to the elements, weathering steel develops a stable coating of rust that protects it from further corrosion and eliminates the need for paint. Ten pages of the book are dedicated to the process of making Cor-ten, accompanied full page close-up photographs that study its color and texture in great detail.

Artists such as Pablo Picasso have frequently used Cor-ten steel, which has a distinct reddish brown color, for outdoor sculptures. Recent prominent architectural uses include the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Bjarke Ingels' Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi. U.S. Steel, who owns the patent on Cor-ten, showcased the product during the construction of their U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh.

Most of Judd's works with Cor-ten steel were done for specific outdoor locations and commissioned by clients. This book collects photographs taken during an exhibition at David Zwirner's New York gallery. It is currently available on the publisher’s web site.

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Ensamble Studio creates earth-born sculptures at Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana

Landscape and sculpture become nearly one with Ensamble Studio’s large-scale sculptural installations in at the Tippet Rise Art Center, a contemporary center for art and music located northeast of Beartooth Mountains in Fishtail, Montana. The installations are mammoth in size, speaking to the scale and vastness of the local terrain, which is a 11,500-acre working ranch just north of Yellowstone National Park. The concrete sculptures are born of the site: for the sculpture Beartooth Portal, Ensamble Studio cast two massive reinforced concrete concrete forms in man-made earthen depression. This geological exploration yields a raw and primitive aesthetic. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqnxDjUmyAc] Ensamble Studio, led by partners Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa, have completed three of these earthen sculptures—Beartooth Portal, Inverted Portal, and Domo. Ensamble Studio presented ideas for eight additional sculptures at the Venice Biennale none of which are currently being pursued. Domo, completed last week at Tippet Rise, is depicted in photomontages as a small upside-down mountain range. Visitors will be able to walk beneath the sculpture into an open space reminiscent of ancient caves. Its casting process was even more complex than that which was used for Beartooth Portal and Inverted Portal. Tippet Rise Art Center will open on June 17, 2016.
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David Umemoto’s scaled down Brutalist city scapes

Based in Montreal, architect and sculptor David Umemoto has created a number of Brutalist cubic volumes and sculptures. The forms, which derive from Brutalist principles, have been amalgamated in one work as part of a three-dimensional tessellating cube. When disassembled, the forms clearly resemble architectural elements and spaces. They can then be rearranged in any manner of compositions to create a series of both additive and subtractive volumes. Subsequently, Umemoto has repeated this process in some cases to generate modular city-scapes. Speaking of his work, Umemoto said: "This scalable modular building system is based on the theory that there is a universal order. Molecules, cycles, ecosystems, the order is the norm and chaos an accident." "Everything is connected, organized and structured; it is only a matter of place, time and scale. Thus, we can speak of a cellular system rather than modular elements that not only can be interchanged but also transformed. They obey rules in a rigid frame but with an organic development." In terms of process, the forms were created by Umemoto as reliefs using styrofoam as a placeholder for the concrete. Here the concrete, when wet, inhibits the space left within the styrofoam and once dry, can simply be removed to reveal the negative of the styrofoam form. Umemoto hasn't just used this technique for volumetric purposes, either. In one instance, a pattern using a more complex array of curves was carved onto a styrofoam sheet and impressed onto the concrete. "The work is an exploration of the patterns and codes, sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure, that govern our environment," said Umemoto.
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Winners Unveiled for Toronto’s Second Annual Winter Stations Design Competition

Four winners and three student winners were selected to design art installations along Toronto’s beaches this winter. The concept behind the Winter Stations Design Competition is to enliven typically deserted beaches during the winter with whimsical structures. This year’s theme, Freeze/Thaw reflected Ontario’s harsh climate and elicited playful responses with installations ranging from a fur-lined pod to a fragmented rainbow-hued cavern. The jury received nearly 400 entries from both local and international designers. The seven winning designs will be built from February 10 to 14 along Kew, Scarborough, and Balmy Beaches. Installations will debut on February 15 and will stay open to the public through March 20. “Visitors will discover a feast of textures in the schemes—from vessels clad in charred wood to sailing rope to vintage furs,” Lisa Rochon, senior fellow of Global Cities Institute University of Toronto and a jury chair said in a press release. “Inventive, playful and irreverent, all of the installations can be read like pieces of poetry on the beach. “ The winning designs are: In the Belly of a Bear by Caitlind r.c Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee Three Calgary-based artists crafted this charred wood pod lined in thick, warm fur. Visitors are invited to climb in to get warm and enjoy the view from a round window. Floating Ropes by MUDO Described as a “rope forest,” Floating Ropes is a playful take on a permeable cube that visitors can crawl inside to reach a lifeguard chair with views of the lake. Sauna by FFLO (Claire Fernley and James Fox) Two U.K. landscape architects interpreted the “Thaw” theme literally with a tiered sauna. Transparent exterior walls allow glimpses of those within and solar powered lights illuminate it at night. Flow by Team Secret (Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh) Graduate students Fung and Huynh wanted to capture the “transitional moment between freeze and thaw.” They created digitally-fabricated 3-D stars through slot-fitting wood connections that can be easily reconfigured. For the student entries, teams from three schools participated: Lithoform by Remi Carreiro, Aris Peci, and Vincent Hui, Associate Professor, Ryerson University This structure was inspired by frost in the Lithosphere, the outer layer of the earth. The team created a polychromatic cavern around a lifeguard station. The Steam Canoe by OCADU. Toronto, Ontario Project team: Curtis Ho, Jungyun Lee, Monifa Onca Charles, Reila Park, Hamid Shahi, Lambert St‐Cyr, Jaewon Kim, Jason Wong and Mark Tholen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Design, OCADU Evacuated solar tubes place at the rear of this “upside down” canoe are designed to melt snow into steam, which creates a halo of fog around the wooden structure. Aurora Borealis by Chris Baziw, Ra'anaa Brown, Trevor D'Orazio, Andrew Harkness, Matthew Hunter, Danielle Kastelein, and Terrance Galvin, Director of Architecture, Laurentian University. Surrounding a lifeguard station, this structure is created from fabric and LED lights on an aluminum and responds to body heat. When visitors touch the illuminated tubes, they change color. “The public participation in Winter's Station's inaugural year proves that even the most overlooked winterscapes can be injected with vibrancy and life," Ted Merrick, lead designer at landscape architecture firm Ferris + Associates said in the press release. "Our ultimate goal for year two remains the same—to encourage the community out of hibernation and back to the beach."
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Design Miami Minute> Larry Bell and Hans Ulrich Obrist together in Wynwood

miamiday2-01 One of the early highlights of Miami Art and Design Week is the spectacular Larry Bell sculpture 6X6 An Improvisation at White Cube Gallery’s pop up space in the Wynwood Art District. Last night, Bell was interviewed by uber questioner Hans Ulrich Obrist in the gallery next to the piece. Bell talked about his years learning to manufacture and laminate his art pieces on East 9th Street in New York City after Pace Gallery sold out his show before he even arrived at the gallery. He also described his early years as a painter (he started out studying graphic design) influenced by Willem De Kooning, which eventually had him make spaces of wood and glasses rather than paint them. Bell described the nearly unlimited spatial and geometric possibilities of his glass cubes. When Obrist, who always wants to be prepared for his interviews, asked Bell to consider his installations as collages, referencing Vladimir Tatlin and others. Bell did not seem to want think about his work as Obrist farmed it and blurted out, “Hans and I only met for a few minutes before this talk,” and "I don’t know what to say about the work!"
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On View> Rachel Whiteread: Looking Out at Luhring Augustine Bushwick

Looking Out Luhring Augustine Bushwick 25 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY Through December 20, 2015 Rachel Whiteread is a thoroughly architectural artist. Her sculpture exposes the spatial relationships between common objects, or whole buildings, and their environments. Detached III, a concrete and steel cast of a garden shed, transforms the humble structure into a monument. Her works on paper respond to specific sculptures but are considered a body of work on their own. Whiteread uses unconventional media—graph paper, correction fluid, varnish—to mark present and absent spaces between forms. To complement the Bushwick show, there will be a parallel exhibition of Whiteread’s work at Luhring Augustine Chelsea from November 7–December 19.
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Remember the Battery Park City wheatfield? Conceptual artist is back with a horticultural pyramid in Queens

  [Editor's Note: Socrates Sculpture Park on the Queens waterfront installed The Living Pyramid, a public sculpture by Agnes Denes in May, when this article was originally published. They have just announced that they will extend the life of the sculpture through the end of October. The work is Denes’ first since her iconic Wheatfield – A Confrontation in 1982, sited on a waterfront landfill in what is now Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan. Do not miss this chance to see this important artwork before it comes down next month.] Monuments of pre-civilization feats in construction and engineering, pyramids are the latest muse of conceptual artist Agnes Denes who, in 1982, transformed what is now Battery Park City into a two-acre wheatfield. Titled Wheatfield - A Confrontation and featuring the backdrop of a construction site and jostling Manhattan skyscrapers, it’s not difficult to surmise Denes’ intentions. Likewise, her latest project, Living Pyramid resonates with a rebellious call to the wild. Made from soil and thousands of seeds, the pyramid will be erected in late April at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. On May 17, the public is invited to plant the seeds, which, by early June, will have bloomed into wildflowers and leafy plants. Living Pyramid itself will remain on view until August 30, when cooler weather begins to encroach once again. The sculptural exhibition is Denes’ first major exhibition in the city since Wheatfield, although her work has been displayed at New York City’s prime museums including MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum. “What [pyramids] all convey is the human drama, our hopes and dreams against great odds,” Denes said in a press release. “Transformed into blossoms, the pyramid renews itself as evolution does to our species.” Long a fixture in Denes’ work, pyramids are also central to her exhibition In the Realm of Pyramids: The Visual Philosophy of Agnes Denes on view at the Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects from March 14–May 9.