If you are unaware, the city of Boston unveiled “Embrace” just this month. The work is based on a photo of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King and it represents part of that photo. Conceptually that’s a great idea. In reality, it’s not, at least according to many who’ve seen it.
Having read a number of reactions to it, I think the problem can be seen if I ask myself the question: is it a monument or a sculpture? It has elements of a monument: it is a large realistic work in bronze of a famous and celebrated couple. It also has elements of a work of art: it is symbolic and abstract in a way. As a result, it falls somewhere in the middle between monuments and sculptures. And in falling in the middle, people get unsure of how to process it, I believe.
Of course, monuments can be abstract and non-representational: take the Washington monument in D.C. And sculpture can be bronze and representational: think of anything by Rodin. Even monuments that are abstract and non-representational can be controversial, as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial showed when it was first unveiled. There is no formula for what works that will guarantee that a monument or sculpture will win acceptance.
I do believe, though, that if the Embrace was realistic like the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington, it would be more liked. Likewise, if it were made of something other than bronze and made more abstract, people might be confused but less vitriolic about it. Alas, it is what it is.
I feel in the long run this work will come to be accepted and even loved. Works like this weave into the lives of people, and as they do, they become parts of the best of them. I also hope we see more sculptures and monuments of great African American leaders such as the Kings. That’s an idea we should all embrace.
Michael Snow died last week. It’s hard to think of an artist whose work is as well known and as well photographed as his. Even people who know nothing about art have likely seen his sculpture at the Skydome, not to mention his Canadian Geese sculpture at the Eaton Center. His work is spread throughout the city of Toronto, and the city would lose some of its luster without his creations.
Speaking of the 80s, here are some good pieces on another artist from that decade (and more), David Salle. Here’s David Salle’s five favs. Other things on him are this and this. Must reads for fans like myself.
Posted onJuly 31, 2022|Comments Off on On the late great Claes Oldenburg
The great sculpture artist Claes Oldenburg died recently. He was a fine artist, and I was always pleased to see his Floor Burger sculpture when I went to the AGO in Toronto. His work seems so pleasant and carefree now, but back in the day it provoked controversy.
To learn more about The Fourth Plinth, go here. It started off empty due to lack of funds for a sculpture of William IV to fill it. I’m glad that happened. Londoners and tourists have benefitted ever since. (No offense to William IV.)
My belief is that a statue of Elizabeth II will go there once she dies. We shall see. Meanwhile check out the various artists who have had pieces there.
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Posted onNovember 6, 2021|Comments Off on The wonderfully abstract sculpture of Louise Durham
Over at Colossal they have the stunningly beautiful sculpture of Louise Durham. Here’s their intro:
Based in the coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea, England, artist Louise Durham creates towering wooden sculptures of reclaimed sea defense timber and vibrant stained glass. She embeds stripes and circles in a full spectrum of color within the totem-style works, which when illuminated, cast kaleidoscopic shadows on their surroundings. “It is all about the light,” she says. “That’s the magic of glass and the magic of all living things.”
In some ways they remind me of stained glass windows in churches. There is something spiritual to them, though in an abstract way. You can bring your own spirituality to them, whatever it is. Regardless, they are beautiful and a feast for the eyes.
You can find a selection of her work at Colossal, as well as on her site and Instagram. Go and enjoy.
(Image via Colossal)
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The US Postal Service has issued commemorative stamps for the great American artist, Ruth Asawa. If you don’t know much about her (I did not), then I highly recommend this piece.
She lead a storied life, and overcame great hardships on her way to becoming the artist and the person she was. That sounds trite, but it’s true.
One of my goals has been to learn more about women artists, artists who have often been overlooked but should never have been. That goal has lead me learn about artists such as Asawa. I recommend you do, too.
I used to have great disdain for Koons, but the more I think about his work, the better appreciation I have for it. There is a ceiling to that appreciation: the emptiness of it imposes that. But Koons and his work gets me to think about art and the art world and the meaning of art and culture, and for that his work appeals to me.
However you think about him, those pieces are worth reading.
Posted onSeptember 23, 2015|Comments Off on Something beautiful: DIY geometric paper animal sculptures by Paperwolf
These paper sculptures by Wolfram Kampffmeyer (aka Paperwolf) are gorgeous. You buy them and make them yourself. Simply go to Etsy, here, and order a from a range of different animals, sizes, and prices. Great gift idea, too.