Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Peter Woytuk’s Large Animal Sculptures Invade New York

There are times when your correspondent can only shake his head in disappointed wonderment.  It seems, at times, as if New York actively demonstrates that it can only support public art that is ugly, irrelevant or meretricious.  After the appalling Frederick Douglass statue in Harlem and the gaudy Andy Warhol in lower Manhattan, how much lower can the City Fathers sink?
There answer is: lots lower.  Currently the city is under siege, an attack calculated by the Broadway Mall Association, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Morrison Gallery of Kent, Connecticut (note that Morrison is safely several states away).  The weapon, a series of “whimsical and captivating sculptures” dumped on city streets from Columbus Circle to 168th Street. 
The sculptures are the work of Peter Woytuk (born 1958), who obviously took his early experiences with Play-Dough too closely to heart.  What can one say of Woytuk, other than yet another “artist” has flimflammed civic-minded boobs?  Here is a snippet of Woytuk’s bio, courtesy of his representative, the Morrison Gallery:
In recent years, Peter has been experimenting with life-size and monumental sculpture. His group of bulls, in particular, were first selected because he was attracted to the "sprawl of mass" displayed by seated and reclining bulls on the farms surrounding his former studio in New England. In his interpretation, Peter has somewhat altered their shapes. As he explains, "they're basically large volumes of simplified bovine forms. Their backbone contours, the overlapping silhouette lines of bull groupings, mirror the shapes of the hills surrounding my studio. I kind of like to think of them as the cow as landscape." Ultimately for Peter, the end result is not only the objects themselves but also the way other people respond to and interact with them. He is pleasantly surprised that the bulls have "become sort of a playground for children. They're inviting and great to climb on," he explains.

Peter's decision to create large-scale sculpture has brought about an interesting dilemma –where to have such enormous work cast. For his larger sculptures, Peter has been using foundries in Thailand and China. According to Peter, these facilities, which are used to "working on twenty-foot Buddhas," have "the ability to pour very large-scale sculpture. They're almost unique in their capacity to melt and pour a great amount of metal." The resulting product is finely crafted under the scrupulous direction of the artist.
Ah … finely crafted under the scrupulous direction of the artist.  In short, high-end junk for a people who no longer believe in real art.  One is delighted, however, that children are smart enough to know a large-scale toy when they see it, and act accordingly.
The above bird (bird?) can be found at the train station at Broadway and 72nd.  It is representative of the show, which is to say that none of the other pieces are better or worse.  Another worm at the core of the Big Apple…

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