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Posts Tagged ‘sculpture’

Photo: NJ Advance Media
Rodin sculpture of Napoleon turns up in a New Jersey town hall. Drew University grad student Mallory Mortillaro did the legwork to authenticate it. She is pictured here with Rodin expert Jérôme Le Blay.

Sometimes lost treasures actually get found. In this story, a bust by famed sculptor Auguste Rodin turned up in a New Jersey town hall, thanks to a determined grad student.

Justin Zaremba wrote about the discovery at NJ Advance Media.

“The art world lost track of acclaimed sculptor Auguste Rodin’s bust of Napoleon in the 1930s, but it’s apparently been on display for the past 85 years in the most unlikely of places — the council chambers in Madison [New Jersey] Borough Hall. …

” ‘Napoléon Enveloppé Dans Son Rêve’ (‘Napoleon Wrapped in his Dream’) was ‘long rumored’ to be Rodin’s work but the borough and the Hartley Dodge Foundation, which owns the sculpture, didn’t know for certain until about two years ago … [when] Drew University graduate student Mallory Mortillaro was hired by the foundation to go through the various art pieces at the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building.

“The bust was able to hide for so long, he said, because it weighs 700 pounds and requires about five people to move it and its attached pedestal. Rodin’s signature had been hidden from view for decades because that side of the sculpture was pushed against the wall. …

“The building and the artworks inside it were deeded over to Madison by Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge in the 1930s as a memorial to her son, Marcellus Hartley Dodge Jr., who died in a car accident at the age of 22. The foundation’s sole focus is on preserving the art and architecture of the building. …

“Mortillaro began her detective work by researching every book on Rodin she could find, doing online searches, visiting the Rockefeller archives and contacting officials in the art world.

“Mortillaro, now a teacher at Lawton C. Johnson Middle School in Summit, pursued the case despite receiving the brush off from various art experts.

” ‘No one was being very receptive,’ she said.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

“Mortillaro got in touch with the world’s leading Rodin expert, Jérôme Le Blay, formerly of the Rodin Museum in Paris. …

“According to Mortillaro, when Le Blay walked into the council chambers he turned and said ‘Hello my friend, so is this where you have been hiding?’ …

“The bust had originally been conceived and begun in 1904 at the behest of New York collector John W. Simpson in 1904, but the commission wasn’t completed. Four years later, Thomas Fortune Ryan saw the unfinished piece in Rodin’s studio and acquired it. Rodin completed the piece in 1910. …

“[Hartley Dodge Foundation trustee Nicholas] Platt said the borough and the foundation kept the bust’s identity hidden until now because the insurance company wouldn’t insure the piece for its value and allow them to have the bust open to the public. That’s why for a limited time, it’ll be open to the public — though protected by security — before it leaves the Garden State.

“Platt estimated the piece was worth anywhere from ‘the mid-millions to the 10 million’ range depending on the market.”

The bust will go out on loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a year.

More here.

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Photo: Studio Roosegaarde/flickr
Dutch designer and architect Daan Roosegaarde’s 23 ft. high ‘Smog Free Tower’ removes pollution from the atmosphere.

I wrote recently about a googly-eyed contraption in Baltimore’s harbor that is removing litter — and about the controversy over the relative importance of cleaning up trash vs. stopping it at its source. (See “Mr. Trash Wheel,” here.)

Here is another take. Does creating a sculpture that removes smog from the air we breathe take too much focus away from eliminating smog in the first place? I continue to think that all efforts are important, both for what they accomplish and for the ability to reach more audiences.

Blouin News reports, “Dutch designer and architect Daan Roosegaarde has created a 23 ft. high ‘Smog Free Tower,’ which is the world’s first outdoor air purifier with the ability to suck up smog, filter out pollutant elements and release clean air.

“The tower, resembling a miniature chrome-latticed skyscraper, has been tested in Rotterdam and will soon be installed at public parks in Beijing, a city that suffers from catastrophic levels of smoggy air, writes The New York Times.

“The tower, which can clean up to 30,000 cubic meters of air in an hour, may not bring radical change to a highly polluted city like Beijing but its installation is a symbolic gesture, reminding the society of its responsibility to fight air pollution. The designer will be placing 25 such towers in Beijing’s public parks and plans to introduce the technology in India and Mexico as well, notes RealClear Life.” More here.

I am just realizing I already wrote about another aspect of this project: the smog waste will be turned into diamonds! Read this.

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Photo: Cornell University
Small predators related to jellyfish (Hydroids) and other marine creatures made of glass may be viewed at the Corning Museum of Glass until January 8, 2017.

Visitors to the Boston area are often taken to see the famous glass flowers created by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and displayed at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge. I have taken guests there myself.

But it was news to me that the Blaschkas also created sea creatures in glass. Many of those were acquired by Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

According to Wikipedia, the marine specimens came before the flowers.

“Leopold Blaschke was born in Český Dub, Bohemia, to a family which originated from Josefuv Dul (Antoniwald) in the Iser or Izera Mountains, a region known for processing glass, metals and gems. The family had also spent time in the glassblowing industry of Venice.

“Leopold displayed artistic skills as a child, and was apprenticed to a goldsmith and gemcutter. He then joined the family business, which produced glass ornaments and glass eyes. He developed a technique which he termed ‘glass-spinning,’ which permitted the construction of highly precise and detailed works in glass. He also Latinised his family name to ‘Blaschka,’ and began to focus the business on the manufacture of glass eyes.

“In 1853, Leopold was suffering from ill health and was prescribed a sea voyage. He traveled to the United States and back, using the time at sea to study and draw sea animals, primarily invertebrates.’ ” Read how he started making replicas of them at Wikipedia.

The Guardian alerts us to the current exhibition of the Blaschkas’ marine work in upstate New York. “Father and son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka created perfect reproductions of invertebrate marine life in glass in their studio in Germany in the 19th century. Cornell University acquired a collection of 570 items in 1885, and a selection of these can be seen at an exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass. ‘Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Glass Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka’ runs until 8 January, 2017.”

Amazing photos here.

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I tend to follow environmentalists, artists, and community development nonprofits on twitter, sometimes finding ideas I want to share here. Smaller Cities Unite! (@SmallerCitiesU) is a source for all three topics. Recently it linked to this Live Science article by Tia Ghose.

Ghose writes, “Artist Sigalit Landau submerged a 1920s-style long, black dress in Israel’s Dead Sea for two months in 2014. When the dress was lifted from the salty waters, it was a sparkling, crystalline sculpture formed from salt. …

“Landau has been inspired by the Dead Sea’s unique environment for past artwork, including salt-crystal-encrusted lamps, a salty hangman’s noose and a crystalline island made of shoes, according to the artist’s website.

“The current exhibit uses a dress that is a replica of the long, black one worn by a character in the classic Hasidic Jewish ghost-story called ‘The Dybbuk.’ In that story, the bride, Leah, is possessed by the evil spirit of her dead suitor, who died before they could marry. The dress was worn during the 1920s production of the play. …

“The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth. At 34 percent salnity, it is several times saltier than the open ocean. … The hypersalinity is also what’s behind the alchemy that transforms the black dress into a shining white dress. Salt tends to crystallize out of very salty solutions, and it typically nucleates, or seeds, at places that have saltier concentrations than the surrounding water …

“As the dress initially caught bits of extra salt, that led to a locally higher concentration of salt, spurring the salt molecules to line up into crystals that eventually grew and transformed this deathly dress into a sparkly saline jewel.”

Read more.

Photo: Matanya Tausig
Sigalit Landau’s sparkly salt sculpture was originally a black dress that was submerged in the Dead Sea for two months.

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Among the sights I’ve wanted to photograph in the last few weeks is a sculpture outside the Umbrella Community Arts Center. It invites you to look through and focus on an aspect of the view.

Next up, the old house where Ephraim Bull developed the Concord Grape. Another sign there told me that there was a “Sale Pending.”

My friend Meredith is a featured artist at Concord Art’s new juried show. She has done several treatments of her fica plant, but the one in the show is a lovely collage of painted paper.

I recently discovered on a morning walk that the Providence Preservation Society has generously opened its multilevel garden to the public during certain hours of the day. What a peaceful place to just sit and think! Not far away is the What Cheer Garage (I like the name). Across Providence, you can discover a fine-looking hen on the wall of Olga’s Cup and Saucer, and a street art stencil recommending Speak no evil, See no evil, Hear no evil.

I also like the alley alongside the Providence Performing Arts Center and a hilly street that looks more like Europe than New England.

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It’s not fair to make fun of Russians in general when only a few have a problem with Michelangelo’s “David,” but this is a funny story.

Claire Voon wrote at Hyperallergic in July that the city of St. Petersburg would vote in August on whether to cover the statue’s nakedness.

Here’s what she said, “St. Petersburg residents will vote on how to dress a replica statue of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ that came to the city in May, following a complaint from a woman who said his nudity ‘spoils the city’s historic appearance and warps children’s souls.’

“Erected as part of the ongoing Michelangelo. World Creation exhibition at St. Anne’s Lutheran Church in central St. Petersburg, the 16-foot-tall plastic copy compelled the outraged local to pen a letter last week to the Children’s Right’s Ombudsman, as Lenta first reported. …

“While the online post notes that officials have tried to convince Inna that many other naked statues have stood around town for years, she said she still intends to write to all relevant authorities to achieve an ‘early elimination of the giant.’ …

“The organizers of the show have been quite accommodating, though … This week, they launched the monthlong ‘Dress David’ initiative, which invites people to play stylist to the famous nude Renaissance work and submit ideas for outfits, complete with explanations for why David should appear in the proposed garb. An online voting session for selected concepts will open on August 16, with a winner announced a week later. Voters will also have the option to leave the statue as Michelangelo’s original has stood for centuries. …

“In the meantime, organizers have crudely taped a black circular object over the statue’s offending member to protect the untainted souls of passing schoolchildren.” More.

After a bit of Googling, I finally discovered how the voting went, here.

Photo: @misha.ivanov/Instagram
Some Russians actually think this sloppy covering of a David replica is a good idea.

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