Saturday, August 10, 2013

Paley on Park Avenue

This summer and on through fall, thirteen large metal sculptures by Albert Paley will grace Park Avenue. It is another project presented by the Fund for Park Avenue's Temporary Public Art Collection and the city's Department of Parks and Recreation.

Albert Paley is the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Institute Honors awarded by the American Institute of Architects, the AIA’s highest award to a non-architect.
I've written about two previous art exhibits on Park Avenue. In the Spring of 2012, Park Avenue had Rafael Barrios, and after that, in the Summer it featured Niki de St. Phalle. Last Spring, it was Alexander Arrechea, I haven't written about it but took pics of all the sculptures for the project No Limits. All their creations were massive and eye catching, and the same holds true for Albert Paley's sculptures.

Near East 52nd Street flanked by the Seagram Building on the east and the Racquet and Tennis Club on the west, along the street median, lies the first artwork, the largest of the thirteen sculptures.

WXXI has an in-depth coverage of Albert Paley's work. After each pic of the sculpture, I will link on the artwork's title WXXI's spotlight page which includes a short description of the sculpture, a video, as well as Paley's sketches. 

The sculpture above is Progression.

The next sculpture is a burst of autumn colors, and one surprising royal blue feature standing out.

Each sculpture has a sign showing its name and the materials used. The artwork above is called Between the Shadows.

Walking further, I looked back at the Helmsley Building on 46th Street and had this view of Park Avenue.

At 54th Street is a tall beauty in silver. I think the buildings behind greatly complement the sculpture.

The artwork is aptly named Reflection

At the end of this continuous block of median is Paley's fourth sculpture in the series.

I like the contrast of the straight and wavy lines, as well as the dark and light colors. The piece is called Encore.

Then just across the street, at the start of another median is a show of red.

It looks like playful piece, maybe that's why it's called Jester.

The afternoon sun was reflecting on the buildings along the street. I think Park Avenue has one of the best architectures in the city.

The next sculpture is an all brown piece along 58th Street.

Why do I feel like I'm looking at the back of a cute cartoon mouse? Maybe because one of parts looks like a tail? Is this why this piece is called Counter Balance? Hmm ..

The view looking west from Park Avenue and 58th Street. You can see One57 Building which is still under construction. Upon completion, it will be the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere.

Albert Paley's seventh sculpture in the series is another silver piece but this time much wider.

There are lots of different and contrasting angles on this piece, which is titled Variance.

The next three sculptures are all-brown pieces. After Variance comes this sculpture that looks like it's somewhat leaning.

It's aptly called Tilted Column.

The next piece is a somewhat straighter version of the previous one, in fact it looks like the two sculptures have the same base.

This piece is called Ambiguous Response.

On the above pic at the right of the sculpture is Christ Church. I had the chance to take some pictures of its beautiful interior a few months ago. You can see them on my flickr album, Along Park Avenue.

The tenth sculpture in the series looks like a column surrounded by wavy lines, some wide while some are very narrow strips.

The sculpture is called Cloaked Intention. Here's a closer look at some of its features.

On my way to the next sculpture, I happen to look up at the buildings and saw this. Four different structures looming up the Park Avenue skyline. I think a good caption would be The Four Towers, what do you think?

The next sculpture lies on the street median near the beautiful Central Presbyterian Church.

Another fitting title for the piece, it's called Composed Presence. Here's a closer look.

A little bit further along near the south end of the Park Avenue Armory is the twelfth sculpture in the series.

The piece is called Languorous Repose. Here's a close-up of some of it's details.

You can clearly see Albert Paley's name etched on the piece, as well as the year it was made.

The last and thirteenth piece in the series was glowing gold in the afternoon sun.

Called Envious Composure, it stands out at the median by the north end of the Park Avenue Armory.

WXXI has an extensive coverage on Albert Paley on Park Avenue, a total of six episodes. It is a behind-the-scenes story of what it takes to complete such a significant project.
Shot in high-definition, viewers will see firsthand the creation of the 13 sculptures and will learn the story behind them. “This is the most ambitious project that any sculptor in the last decade of this program has come up with,” explains Patterson Sims in the first episode. Sims serves as a member of the Sculpture Committee for the Fund for Park Avenue. In the Web series Paley and his team talk candidly about the work involved in this endeavor and the challenges they faced. also offers extended looks at each individual piece being created, photos from the studio, and social media links for more in-depth information and background.
You can watch all six episodes here. The attached vid below is a montage that briefly previews WXXI's Paley on Park Avenue: New York City.


"No matter how good a sculpture is," said Mr. Paley, if it doesn't amplify the space it doesn't function."

How true!

For the rest of my Albert Paley on Park Avenue pics, here's the album on Flickr - Paley on Park Avenue.

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