Archive for the ‘sculpture’ Category

Let me weave you a tale, or tell you a yarn, about the Beijing "Bird’s Nest"

08/27/2008

To my post on the woven nature of the Beijing National Stadium “Bird’s Nest,”


reader Pam Farrell wrote

I too was wondering what the birds nest building reminded me of…then I thought about a Martin Puryear woven wood sculpture. Couldn’t find an appropriate example, but I’m satisfied with that association.

I’m satisfied with that too. Very satisfied. The way only art can satisfy me. And I did find an appropriate example (or three) of Puryear’s work to make the case
“Old Mole” (1985)

“Thicket” (1990)

Martin Puryear is one of my favorite living sculptors. I’m not always sure why. I like the mystery in his forms. The anthropomorphism that has been handmade into something greater, through abstraction. The spiritual power when he passes traditional arts and folk traditions and wisdom of Africa and other lands through his being and through his hands and into his work. His political/historical power can punch, as in the soaring “Ladder for Booker T. Washington.” I love it set against the concrete walls in Tadao Ando’s Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. With elegance and earthiness Puryear turns craft work into deep art.

A handmade work in our industrialized society is born with mojo.

When I spent a day a few months ago with the architects of the “Bird’s Nest,” Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, they spoke of that. They hail from Switzerland. A land with centuries-long traditions of hand work. That led to the famous Swiss craftsmanship of timepieces. But they said that today, little is made by hand in Switzerland. They spoke of a recent trip to Kenya where they saw some craftsmanship, but a dwindling amount. And then, I’m just remembering now, Herzog mentioned India and China. He said they may end up as the last places on earth where things are still made by hand.

Which makes me wonder if their “Bird’s Nest” stadium is an homage to the hand-made. It does look beautifully woven, crafted- like a Martin Puryear.

What symbolizes craft more than


a ball of yarn? Look like the photo at the top?

Herzog and de Meuron attempted a similar blending in their lower Manhattan condo building at 40 Bond Street, this time, street art (graffiti) into architecture


There it’s much less effective. The manic energy sinks it, as does the dated feel of graffiti as inspiration in New York City.

You could say the “Bird’s Nest” reminds you of


a rubber band ball. Sure. But those are so tightly wound. It’s politically important that the “Bird’s Nest” is a more open, porous form. The stadium in Beijing speaks of “unraveling the truth.” And for such a large building, the openings make it seem less oppressive. That’s an important statement. As is the exterior with its lines in all directions to say “There are many paths.”

One last Martin Puryear


I like how he creates space, architecturally. It’s womb-like, with mystery and meaning in it. The “Bird’s Nest” also achieves this. And its form is enough like a whale to keep us looking at it in a satisfied way until we can figure it out its meaning. The “Bird’s Nest” too can look like a tail fin, reentering the ocean.

What Puryear has created gives off an animate power and yet would also be a carcass, or is it the ribbed infrastructure of a ship? It’s a rot, a ruin. The “Bird’s Nest” shows a melt-down tendency too. Do you see the romantic ruins of Piranesi in it?


A crumbling of the old order.

Martin Puryear uses wood in so many different ways that he renews its possibilities as artistic material. Herzog and de Meuron are doing the same for steel.

We once again see the relationship of architecture and sculpture. Many public buildings today get criticized for being too sculptural. In Beijing, Herzog and de Meuron get the balance between architecture, sculpture, craft and message just right.

Thank you Pat for the inspiration! Anyone else have associations with the “Bird’s Nest?”

Photos of Martin Puryear’s work by Richard Barnes/Museum of Modern Art

.

Advertisements

06/27/2007
For which major piece of public art,
in which American city,
are these destined?



Kudos to the US museum that commissioned a living American artist to grace the entrance to its new and expanded building.


Positioned like this they feel like the colonnade at St. Peter’s in Rome.
-E

03/16/2007

de Saint Phalle or di Suvero?

“I feel a sudden urge to sing
The kind of ditty that invokes the Spring!”

Spring is here and two fab exhibitions have just been announced for Chicago


“The night is young, the skies are clear
So if you wanna go walkin’, dear

It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely

It’s di Suvero, it’s de Saint Phalle, it’s de-sinful….


I understand the reason why
You’re sentimental, ’cause so am I

It’s
de Saint Phalle, it’s di Suvero, it’s de-sculpture
in da Garfield Park, in Millennium Park, it’s delicious!

Time marches on and soon it’s plain
de Saint Phalle’s won your heart

and di Suvero your brain


It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s di Suvero, it’s de Saint Phalle,
it’s de-lovely
!”

2 press releases

“NIKI IN THE GARDEN”

The Extraordinary Sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle
At the Garfield Park Conservatory May 4—
October 31, 2007

Coming to Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory this spring will be more than 30 extraordinary and monumental outdoor sculptures by the internationally-renowned artist, Niki de Saint Phalle.


Entitled Niki in the Garden, this spectacular exhibition of Saint Phalle’s imaginative artwork will be beautifully displayed in the building and on the grounds of the Garfield Park Conservatory from May 4 through
October 31, 2007.

Niki in the Garden is presented by the Chicago Park District, The Boeing Company, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Office of Tourism and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Tourism, as part of the citywide celebration, Art of Play: Summer in Chicago 2007.

Massive in scale, Saint Phalle’s magical and joyful works include enormous animals, mythical figures, totems, sports heroes and most famously, her Nanas—oversized, often dancing, powerful women celebrating life. Some of the pieces reach as high as eighteen feet and span up to twenty-five feet long and most invite sitting, climbing or crawling through their secret passages. The fiberglass sculptures are brilliantly embellished with mirrors, glass, semi-precious stones and ceramic mosaics that come to life in all kinds of light. …

Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculptures will be found throughout the grounds of the Garfield Park Conservatory, located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue, 15 minutes west of downtown Chicago. The Conservatory is open every day from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5 per adult, children are free.

Niki de Saint Phalle was born in 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and raised in New York City. A passionately imaginative and self-taught artist, Saint Phalle was extremely prolific, creating a stunning repertoire of work that includes sculptures, paintings and illustrations. She is best known for her work on the sensual and overtly womanly Nanas, which is French for “babes” or “chicks.” Calling the large-scale sculptures and architectural installations “heralds of a new matriarchal age,” Saint Phalle boldly personified her idea of feminine empowerment in these uninhibited, colorful Nanas. Their frenetic dancing, outrageous shapes and shades have appeared in museums, advertisements and outdoor sculptural exhibits around the world. Other notable works include Hon in Stockholm (1966), the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris (1983), Noah’s Ark in Jerusalem (1998), Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Escondido (1999—2003) and her most important work, the Tarot Garden in Tuscany (1980—1998). In the early 1990s, Saint Phalle settled in southern California, and in 2000 she was awarded the acclaimed 12th Premium Imperial Prize in the sculpture category, considered the Nobel Prize in the art world. She remained in California until her death in 2002.

Niki in the Garden is made possible by the Niki Charitable Art Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the late artist’s ideals and the preservation of her legacy for future generations. The Foundation is headed by Bloum Cardenas, the artist’s granddaughter.

The Garfield Park Conservatory is located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue and is easily accessible by automobile or public transportation.Free parking is available just south of the Conservatory’s main entrance.

For more information about ‘Niki in the Garden,’ visit www.cityofchicago.org/Tourism.

It’s di Suvero!

Four Large-Scale Sculptures by Acclaimed Artist Mark di Suvero
To Be Installed in Millennium Park for One Year
April 17, 2007—April 1, 2008

Chicago’s Millennium Park will come alive this season when four large-scale sculptures by the prominent abstract expressionist sculptor Mark di Suvero grace the Park’s Boeing Galleries from April 17, 2007 through April 1, 2008. Framing the dramatic art and architecture of Millennium Park and juxtaposed against the stainless steel lines of the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, these soaring sculptures will enhance one of Chicago’s most popular public spaces—Millennium Park.

Shang, 1984-85, Steel, 25’ x 19’ x 21’ 9”

A prolific sculptor, di Suvero’s dynamic works have punctuated landscapes and urban environments for half a century. His arresting pieces have consistently drawn critical acclaim, confronting audiences with their audacious colors and shapes, and mesmerizing even the casual passer-by with their subtle energy and intricate proportion.

In Millennium Park, two pieces will be placed in the North Boeing Gallery and two in the South Boeing Gallery. The largest, Orion, a bright orange sculpture, measuring 53 feet high and weighing close to 12 tons, will sit in the North Boeing Gallery along with Johnny Appleseed, a 23’6” foot high structure with two large steam shovels intersecting its steel base. In the South Boeing Gallery are two kinetic steel pieces, Shang, a 25 foot tall sculpture, and Yoga, a 29’6” tall sculpture. Children are invited to climb on the suspended steel beam in Shang that acts as a swing and everyone can see Yoga’s graceful movements as it turns in the wind.

“Mark di Suvero was invited to be the first sculptor to exhibit his work in the Boeing Galleries, given his reputation as one of America’s most influential artists,” said Helen Doria, Executive Director, Millennium Park. “Visitors can interact with his work just as they do with the Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate—the permanent art in the Park. That connection to the art has become part of the essential spirit of Millennium Park, making visitors want to return again and again.”

Johnny Appleseed

A companion exhibition of photography of di Suvero’s sculptures taken by the legendary art dealer, Richard Bellamy, will be on view in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Chicago Rooms, located at 78 E. Washington Street, from June 8 through October 1, 2007.

Mark di Suvero was born in Shanghai, China in 1933, where his father became part of the Italian consular service. At the outbreak of World War II, his family moved to San Francisco and he became a U.S. citizen. In New York in 1957, di Suvero began using scrap from demolished buildings to create what he called “cubist, open spatial sculptures.” In 1960, he was injured in an accident at a day job which left him paralyzed. Confined to a wheelchair for a year, di Suvero learned to use an electric arc welder and began to show his first stainless steel work in a New York gallery. In the 1960’s, he mastered the use of the crane, acetylene torch and welder, then, bought his own crane and began to use it to bend and assemble steel for his art. In the late 1960’s, di Suvero worked on and off for over two years making sculpture in the Chicago area, creating several of his significant works from that period. Di Suvero’s sculpture has been shown widely in the United States and Europe. He currently divides his time between large industrial studios in California, New York and Chalon-sur-Saone, France.

For more information about Mark di Suvero/Millennium Park,

visit www.millenniumpark.org.

Mark di Suvero/Millennium Park is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Millennium Park, in cooperation with Millennium Park, Inc., and is sponsored by The Boeing Company with support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The sculpture is available for all to enjoy free of charge.

###

Maybe I’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the work of di Suvero. Or do I prefer my I-beams on the sides of buildings?

Remember, Milwaukeeans voted against di Suvero. So I really should like his work. (That’s a joke. I heart Milwaukee. It’s just not Chicago.

Of course, Chicago is not Paris; where Niki de Saint Phalle with Jean Tinguely, some folks from the Middle Ages and others, created a great public space and fountain.

The Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou (pompous dude?) in Paris. I’ve loved it since the day it opened, I might have even been there that day. Do you hear music? That’s the back of the Firebird. As in Suite. The fountain is also next to IRCAM, a center of avant garde experimental art music, and for the science of music and sound.

Speaking of music again, a tip of de-hat to Cole Porter.

-de-lovel-E

(Aren’t you glad Boeing is headquartered in Chicago? I am. Some objected when the Mayor gave them enticements to move here. Seems they’re giving us enticements now.)

update: A little more di Suvero di light here.

02/11/2007

You would rust too.

The city bans dogs from Magdalena Abakanowicz’ Agora sculpture in Grant Park!

A month ago we brought you the first photos of rust or damage on the lowest parts of the sculptures. Now we learn dogs are doing their thing on the cast-iron. Is there a correlation? Is that art too? Should we put Duchamp’s “Fountain” in the park?

-E

02/11/2007

You would rust too.

The city bans dogs from Magdalena Abakanowicz’ Agora sculpture in Grant Park!

A month ago we brought you the first photos of rust or damage on the lowest parts of the sculptures. Now we learn dogs are doing their thing on the cast-iron. Is there a correlation? Is that art too? Should we put Duchamp’s “Fountain” in the park?

-E

01/17/2007

Seattle transforms its identity?
Son of Chicago’s Millennium Park!

The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle opens this Saturday. 9 acres at the north end of the downtown waterfront.

The Seattle Times has a fine web feature on the park here.
Their art critic Sheila Farr writes,

“It’s not often in the life of a city that its identity transforms.

Not just the way a place looks or functions, but the way people perceive it, at home and abroad. …

The park has already captured the attention of city planners in New York and Paris for the innovative way it reunites the city and shore, and it’s being hailed as an amazing gift: Most of its $85 million price tag was paid by private donations. …

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said, “I think people will see [the park] and they will want more … this will give them a flavor of what’s possible.”

Nickels pointed to Chicago’s Millennium Park as an example of how a city can blossom by providing world-class gardens, performance space, art and plenty of room to breathe in the heavily trafficked core of the city. Seattle’s new sculpture park, while much smaller, offers a sample of the amenities this city has been lacking.

The Olympic Sculpture Park isn’t meant to be a simple brush with nature. New York architectural firm Weiss / Manfredi embraced the setting, with all its traffic, trains and busy people. …

A meandering path bridges Elliott Avenue and a set of working railroad tracks to culminate in an alluring 850-foot strip of restored beach — the only slice of natural shoreline in downtown.

You can see more than 20 major sculptures by Richard Serra (lower left in photo), Alexander Calder (right in photo), Claes Oldenburg, Mark di Suvero and Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois and others. It’s owned and operated by (but not adjacent to) the Seattle Art Museum.

Read Sheila Farr’s full story here.

[via]

So far, I don’t think there’s any single work of art in there, as great as Chicago Millennium Park’s “Cloud Gate” but then, that would be asking a lot.

Photo: Alan Berner/ The Seattle Times

01/17/2007

Seattle transforms its identity?
Son of Chicago’s Millennium Park!

The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle opens this Saturday. 9 acres at the north end of the downtown waterfront.

The Seattle Times has a fine web feature on the park here.
Their art critic Sheila Farr writes,

“It’s not often in the life of a city that its identity transforms.

Not just the way a place looks or functions, but the way people perceive it, at home and abroad. …

The park has already captured the attention of city planners in New York and Paris for the innovative way it reunites the city and shore, and it’s being hailed as an amazing gift: Most of its $85 million price tag was paid by private donations. …

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said, “I think people will see [the park] and they will want more … this will give them a flavor of what’s possible.”

Nickels pointed to Chicago’s Millennium Park as an example of how a city can blossom by providing world-class gardens, performance space, art and plenty of room to breathe in the heavily trafficked core of the city. Seattle’s new sculpture park, while much smaller, offers a sample of the amenities this city has been lacking.

The Olympic Sculpture Park isn’t meant to be a simple brush with nature. New York architectural firm Weiss / Manfredi embraced the setting, with all its traffic, trains and busy people. …

A meandering path bridges Elliott Avenue and a set of working railroad tracks to culminate in an alluring 850-foot strip of restored beach — the only slice of natural shoreline in downtown.

You can see more than 20 major sculptures by Richard Serra (lower left in photo), Alexander Calder (right in photo), Claes Oldenburg, Mark di Suvero and Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois and others. It’s owned and operated by (but not adjacent to) the Seattle Art Museum.

Read Sheila Farr’s full story here.

[via]

So far, I don’t think there’s any single work of art in there, as great as Chicago Millennium Park’s “Cloud Gate” but then, that would be asking a lot.

Photo: Alan Berner/ The Seattle Times

01/17/2007

Seattle transforms its identity?
Son of Chicago’s Millennium Park!

The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle opens this Saturday. 9 acres at the north end of the downtown waterfront.

The Seattle Times has a fine web feature on the park here.
Their art critic Sheila Farr writes,

“It’s not often in the life of a city that its identity transforms.

Not just the way a place looks or functions, but the way people perceive it, at home and abroad. …

The park has already captured the attention of city planners in New York and Paris for the innovative way it reunites the city and shore, and it’s being hailed as an amazing gift: Most of its $85 million price tag was paid by private donations. …

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said, “I think people will see [the park] and they will want more … this will give them a flavor of what’s possible.”

Nickels pointed to Chicago’s Millennium Park as an example of how a city can blossom by providing world-class gardens, performance space, art and plenty of room to breathe in the heavily trafficked core of the city. Seattle’s new sculpture park, while much smaller, offers a sample of the amenities this city has been lacking.

The Olympic Sculpture Park isn’t meant to be a simple brush with nature. New York architectural firm Weiss / Manfredi embraced the setting, with all its traffic, trains and busy people. …

A meandering path bridges Elliott Avenue and a set of working railroad tracks to culminate in an alluring 850-foot strip of restored beach — the only slice of natural shoreline in downtown.

You can see more than 20 major sculptures by Richard Serra (lower left in photo), Alexander Calder (right in photo), Claes Oldenburg, Mark di Suvero and Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois and others. It’s owned and operated by (but not adjacent to) the Seattle Art Museum.

Read Sheila Farr’s full story here.

[via]

So far, I don’t think there’s any single work of art in there, as great as Chicago Millennium Park’s “Cloud Gate” but then, that would be asking a lot.

Photo: Alan Berner/ The Seattle Times

01/08/2007





Magdalena Abakanowicz’s sculpture, Agora, in Grant Park. Is it supposed to rust like that? I know it’s cast iron, but, it doesn’t look good. And it’s even running onto the concrete.

I’m told initial rusting like this is normal for iron and that it should stop, and that the cast iron will stabilize as brownish (with some red, but not bright red) surface.

This all reminds me that years ago, when Chicago was on the way down, we put up the Picasso statue, in Cor-Ten steel. Made to rust. As the city was doing. But now Chicago’s beaming and the Kapoor “bean” in radiant stainless steel is our symbol. So why this?

Maybe Claes Oldenburg should design to erect nearby,
a large enough tube of ?

Non-rusty thoughts on Abakanowicz’ gory ‘Agora’ by clicking here.

01/08/2007





Magdalena Abakanowicz’s sculpture, Agora, in Grant Park. Is it supposed to rust like that? I know it’s cast iron, but, it doesn’t look good. And it’s even running onto the concrete.

I’m told initial rusting like this is normal for iron and that it should stop, and that the cast iron will stabilize as brownish (with some red, but not bright red) surface.

This all reminds me that years ago, when Chicago was on the way down, we put up the Picasso statue, in Cor-Ten steel. Made to rust. As the city was doing. But now Chicago’s beaming and the Kapoor “bean” in radiant stainless steel is our symbol. So why this?

Maybe Claes Oldenburg should design to erect nearby,
a large enough tube of ?

Non-rusty thoughts on Abakanowicz’ gory ‘Agora’ by clicking here.