Though it may be a semi-intended consequence of Manhattan’s zoning rules regarding floor space, setbacks, and public space, public art in downtown Manhattan is still refreshing. Jean Dubuffet’s Groupe de Quatres Arbres and its curving lines fits so nicely against the linear structure of the building behind it that I’m naturally drawn in.
In this image, visitors walk through “Demon of the Growth” in Salm Palace, part of the National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. Though this sculpture may look enormous, this portion on the staircase is only a small part of the multistory piece that extends painted spheres (mostly balls for athletics, as far as I could tell) around the museum and even out some of the windows. I’m put in mind most of some kind of gray goo scenario, with out-of-control self-replicating machines on the loose in the museum.
When the time came to make the really big prints in Prof. Melissa Schulenberg’s Advanced Printmaking course at St. Lawrence University, only a steam roller had significant- and even-enough pressure to produce the best result. The breezy afternoon, the green foliage, and the bright yellow steam roller on a placid college campus makes for one serious juxtaposition in the middle of winter.
The end of the school year has finally arrived (I’m proctoring a final as we speak), and that leads to a lot of complicated emotions for graduating seniors: relief, regret, nostalgia, hope, etc. In a disused utility stairwell between a loading dock and a backstage prep area, I found this charming little shrine/still life. In the context of the space and the moment, I can’t begin to imagine what kind of meaning this structure contains. There’s a lovely symmetry though, isn’t there?
During a recent European adventure I came across this painting of St. Bernard of Menthon (the one for whom the dogs are named) painted on a lodge near a ski lift in the Austrian village of Obergurgl. This makes perfect sense, St. Bernard being the patron saint of mountaineering and skiing, among other things. The writing at the top translates to something like “Protect us the mountaineers” and I was told the picture has something to do with fending off alpine thunderstorms. These types of paintings and altars were all over the village, just about everything had a patron saint, it seemed. I thought this one stood out, however, being 10″ to 15″ tall.