The Memorial Art Gallery opened its doors on October 8, 1913. See below for news about Centennial Sculpture Park and other projects and events which are planned to commemorate the Gallery’s 100th anniversary. project summary and updates
Rochester sculptor Albert Paley has earned an international reputation for his ability to manipulate cold, hard metal into organic, seemingly impossible forms. Over a career spanning more than three decades, he has completed more than 60 monumental commissions for sites from Washington DC to Houston to Los Angeles. So it’s not surprising that the Memorial Art Gallery has commissioned a 25-foot stainless steel sculpture by Paley as one of the anchor installations of its planned Centennial Sculpture Park. Read the press release
At the Memorial Art Gallery, the museum experience will soon start under your feet, even before you step into the building. Later this year, the Gallery will begin installing an entry plaza and walkway by New York City artist Jackie Ferrara, internationally known for richly patterned paved spaces that are designed to enhance their natural and architectural settings.
Ferrara’s work, commissioned for the Gallery’s new Centennial Sculpture Park, will join other new anchor installations by Tom Otterness and Wendell Castle, as well as outdoor sculptures already in the MAG collection. “I have long admired the work of Jackie Ferrara,” says MAG director Grant Holcomb. “Its elegance and sophistication will provide a stunning counterbalance to the Gallery’s dynamic collection of outdoor sculpture.”
Funding for the project comes from the Margaret M. McDonald Memorial Fund, with additional support from the Marion Stratton Gould Fund.
Pictured: Jackie Ferrara drawings for entry plaza “cameos.”
During more than five decades as a sculptor and furniture maker, Rochester’s own Wendell Castle has been called a “trailblazer,” “an American phenomenon,” “a leading figure in American craft” and “the father of the art furniture movement.”
The Gallery has commissioned a monumental cast-iron sculpture by Castle as one of the anchor installations of Centennial Sculpture Park, director Grant Holcomb announced on December 6. The piece (working title Unicorn Family) will measure 22 feet in diameter and consist of a gathering area with a table and three chairs and a 13-foot LED lamp. A maquette of the work (pictured) is now view in MAG’s Vanden Brul Pavilion.
The sculpture and installation are made possible by anonymous donor.
As preparations for Centennial Sculpture Park continue, one favorite work, by pioneering kinetic sculptor George Rickey, is temporarily off view. On March 30, curatorial and facilities staff removed the sculpture’s moving parts (two 12-foot stainless steel blades), dismantled the base and relocated the work to storage until park construction is completed next year. Two Lines Up Excentric—Twelve Feet was the 1994 gift of Richard F. Brush.
Planners of MAG’s Centennial Sculpture Park have long envisioned that the space, which is scheduled to be completed in 2013, will help make the Gallery a more vital part of the neighborhood, open up the grounds for the public to enjoy, and attract tourism. On July 14, MAG staff celebrated the removal of the first segments of decades-old wrought iron fence separating the construction site from the Neighborhood of the Arts.
In October, portions of the historic fencing were reinstalled behind the Gallery, near Prince Street.
Pictured above, from left: Director Grant Holcomb, architect Mark Bayer and MAG board chairman Andy Gallina welcome staff. Holcomb, director of marketing/communications Patti Giordano, chief curator Marjorie Searl, director of advancement Joe Carney, Dylan Holcomb (son of the director), Gallina, and facilities crew member Keith Hartzog prepare to take down the first segment of fencing. Construction vehicles finish a new roadway that will skirt the future site of the park.
Todd McGrain’s Passenger Pigeon (story below) now has a new home. Look for it across from the auxiliary parking lot behind the Gallery, to the left of the new back entrance.
Pictured: On September 28, the bronze sculpture got a lift to its new location.
Work on MAG’s Centennial Sculpture Park is one step closer to reality thanks to a $250,000 gift from the family of Edward D. McDonald. Friends of the Gallery and the McDonald family gathered in May 2010 for the announcement that the main MAG entrance, which will include a walkway designed by nationally known artist Jackie Ferrara, will be named the McDonald Family Plaza. Read the whole story
In October 2010, curator of education Marlene Hamann-Whitmore visited Tom Otterness’s Brooklyn studio, where she found the acclaimed artist (above, with maquettes) hard at work on his major sculptural commission for MAG’s Centennial Sculpture Park. Chief curator Marjorie Searl also took a field trip—to the Indiana stoneworks (above, far right) that will provide the massive limestone blocks for the project.
A major sculptural installation by American artist Tom Otterness will anchor a new community park on the Gallery grounds, director Grant Holcomb announced in April 2010. The selection of Otterness, one of the leading figures in public art, caps a two-year search by the Gallery for an artist of national stature whose work is meaningful, engaging and accessible.
Otterness is known for narrative works that are at once light-hearted and socially pertinent. His proposal for MAG—populated by monumental limestone sculptures that echo the surrounding buildings, as well as by smaller bronze figures—will tell the story of a sculpture from quarry to finished product. From its vantage point in front of the Gallery, it will also serve as a gateway into the museum.
The goal is for the installation and the surrounding park—known as Centennial Sculpture Park—to be open to the public as the Gallery counts down to its 100th anniversary in October 2013. Read the whole story
Above: Centennial Park photo rendering by Bayer Associates.
In July 2010, the City of Rochester announced that it has been awarded a highly competitive, $250,000 Mayor’s Institute on City Design grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will support expansion of ARTWalk, an innovative urban art trail in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts. The City is joined by twelve community partners, among them the Memorial Art Gallery, whose planned Centennial Sculpture Park (images at left and story below) will be one of the anchors of the ARTWalk Extension Project. Read the whole story
On August 6, 2010, volunteers hung more than 300 self-portraits by members of the community for an outdoor exhibition that lined the Gallery’s University Avenue fence for the next six weeks. It was all part of Faces of Rochester, a project sponsored by Democrat and Chronicle Media Group, the Memorial Art Gallery and the ARTWalk Extension Project, Faces of Rochester celebrates the self-portrait not only as an expression of identity but also as a way to have a public conversation about who we are.
Still to come are two other community projects—Story Walk and Poet’s Walk. To learn more visit the Democrat and Chronicle’s ARTDrop website.
Pictured: MAG director Grant Holcomb (at left) and volunteers prepare to hang the portraits.
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