About the Artists

Several major artists were commissioned to create site specific work for Centennial Sculpture Park.

Wendell Castle

Wendell Castle was an was an American artist and a leading figure in American craft. He is often credited with being the father of the art furniture movement. His bold and graceful pieces, often organic, and sometimes whimsical, are crafted from rare and beautiful hardwoods, plastics, veneers, and metals in a timeless contemporary style. His expression of color and exotic materials are synonymous with the Wendell Castle name.

Wendell Castle Unicorn Fam

Rochester’s own Wendell Castle’s (1932–2018) work provides an outdoor grouping of chairs, a table, and a lamp for visitors who would like to spend some time enjoying the passing scene. The Memorial Art Gallery commissioned this monumental cast-iron sculpture by Castle as one of the anchor installations of its Centennial Sculpture Park. The piece, Unicorn Family measures 22 feet in diameter and consists of a gathering area with a table and three chairs and a 13-foot LED lamp.

Jackie Ferrara
Detail of Marking Crossways

Jackie Ferrara designed Marking Crossways which is the serpentine red and orange brick walk that extends from the front entrance of the MAG to the plaza space at the the corner of University Avenue and Goodman Street and is studded with brick cameos. The pathway also consists of a pattern using red and dark brick that spells out “Memorial Art Gallery” and “University of Rochester” in Morse Code.

“Jackie Ferrara has designed and built courtyards, terraces, and architectural structures since the early 1970s. Ferrara is one of several artists who emerged during the seventies by using the forms and materials usually associated with architecture in order to enrich the definition of sculpture and challenge the assumptions and conventions of the typical built environment. Ferrara’s complexly patterned paved areas, based on a grid system, transform bland outdoor plazas or indoor lobbies into animated spaces which help to enliven or accentuate their architectural context.” -via the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego

Tom Otterness

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For the Gallery’s Centennial Sculpture Park, Tom Otterness created two heroic figures at the corner – a female sculptor who is carving a male figure from a block of stone.

Creation Myth by Tom Otterness
“Creation Myth” by Tom Otterness

Tom, on bringing a sculpture to life – “I was inspired by creation myths like Pygmalion and Pinocchio and the ancient idea of bringing a sculpture to life,” says the artist, whose proposal shows the “flux and change” of a busy sculpture studio. “The sculptures also function as a gateway from the outside world into the museum. During the process of developing my proposal, I carefully researched the Memorial Art Gallery collection and architecture. I decided to build a stone monument using the very material that the buildings are made of, and a new material for me—Indiana limestone. I will also use smaller bronze figures to create a double narrative.”

Tom has completed major outdoor commissions in the US, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, including multi-sculpture installations in New York City, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, MI, and Beverly Hills, CA. His sculptures are in the collections of such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha, NE) and SFMoMA in San Francisco. He has also created site-specific works for schools, parks and playgrounds, as well as such unconventional venues as a hayfield in Texas and Manhattan’s 14th Street subway station. In 2005, he became the first artist ever to contribute a balloon for Macy‘s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Albert Paley
Albert Paley's Soliloquy

The Memorial Art Gallery commissioned the 25-foot stainless steel sculpture by Albert Paley as one of the anchor installations at Centennial Sculpture Park. The work, titled Soliloquy, was installed at MAG’s Goodman Street entrance on September 24, 2013 in the Cameros Family Plaza. Albert’s previous work includes thirteen sculptures spanning from 52nd St – 67th St on Park Avenue in New York City and is titled Paley on Park Avenue.

Paley joined three other celebrated artists commissioned to create site-specific works for the Park — Wendell Castle, Jackie Ferrara and Tom Otterness. “The Paley commission completes our vision of four new works by internationally acclaimed artists for Centennial Sculpture Park,” says director Grant Holcomb. “Best of all, two of the four are Rochester’s.”

Jim Sanborn
Argentium- Double Positive

Argentum: Double-Positive by Jim Sanborn consists of two bronze projection cylinders in front of MAG’s 1913 building. These cylinders are perforated with a series of texts that light up at night and project onto the facade and surrounding landscape at MAG. The texts highlight the creativity and invention that have been the core industry of the City of Rochester for decades. Read the full text from the installation.

In addition to the major projects listed above, Centennial Sculpture Park also showcases sculptures from the MAG collection by other prominent artists.

Nancy Jurs "Emergence", 1995

Nancy Jurs
American, 1941 –
Emergence, 1995
American Sculpture
Clay
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Hursh,  96.9.1

George Rickey American, 1907 - 2002 Two Lines Up Excentric - Twelve Feet, 1994 American Sculpture Stainless steel 231 15/16 in. x 266 in. (589.2 cm x 675.64 cm), maximum Gift of Richard F. Brush, 94.44 Currently on View

George Rickey
American, 1907 – 2002
Two Lines Up Excentric – Twelve Feet, 1994
American Sculpture
Stainless steel
Gift of Richard F. Brush,  94.44

Tony Smith American, 1912 - 1980 Playground, 1962-1966

Tony Smith
American, 1912 – 1980
Playground, 1962-1966
American Sculpture
Mild steel
Gift of the artist and Marion Stratton Gould Fund,  70.57

The Memorial Art Gallery’s centennial year was presented by Lynne Lovejoy, with additional support from Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull, ESL Charitable Foundation and Nocon & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.