Category bronze

Bronze Sculptures by Cyrus Dallin in Arlington Combine History and Humanity

New important plantings around Cyrus Dallin’s long-standing sculpture (since 1912) on the lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston this summer made me realize how much I did not know about the sculptor. That led me to Arlington, where some of his significant works have braved all weather for over a century, and where the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum has developed valuable online resources about his works. A winter lull finally let me review my summer notes and photos for Dallin’s art in Arlington, where he lived in the first half of the twentieth century. Now I need to share some fascinating aspects of his art.

Circles Unify Art by Laura Baring-Gould and Mags Harries/Lajos Héder in Drinking Fountains Revived Around Fresh Pond Reservoir

For many months of the pandemic, these drinking fountains were shut down (sometimes covered over) sadly signaling limits on ordinary routines and extraordinary art experiences. When the fountains around Fresh Pond became available again, I wanted to honor their functional and creative qualities. I began to see circles as useful frames for water and also design elements in art, as the artists must have from the start.

Restored and New Art Combine in Renovated Clarendon Avenue Playground: Bronze Birds by Juliet Kepes with Leaf-Pattern Fence by Bart Uchida

In 1980, artist Juliet Kepes designed five bronze birds for the brick walls of Clarendon Avenue Park in Cambridge. A longtime admirer of her children’s book illustration, I wasn’t aware of her range of creative work until a few years ago when I read the Cambridge Arts/ Public Art listing below. By the time I managed to visit the park in 2019, it was closed off for extended renovations after almost forty years of use. ….
Recently I learned that the renovated park had opened, so I headed there one early evening in July. The bronze birds were back, set against a stone wall that replaced their brick background. Floral plantings enhanced their new setting, with the promising addition of a flowing plant-patterned fence that certainly added to my appreciation of the whole park.

Metal Preserves and Transforms Features of Trees in Art by Ed Shay and Letha Wilson

Ed Shay’s ten-foot-tall bronze “Acadian Gyro” entered deCordova Sculpture park about three decades ago. Letha Wilson’s nearly as tall cor-ten steel sculpture “Hawaii California Steel(Figure/Ground)” came in about two years ago. Until now I hadn’t  considered their common key elements: 1) attention to the forms of leaves and branches, 2) expressive rendering of those forms in durable metals ( bronze and steel) 3)relation to the seasonally changing foliage of nearby trees. My awareness grew from posting about four more obviously tree-related artworks in the park and noting further connections. Though I have been a volunteer guide in the park for almost two decades, this focus led me deeper into resources with heightened reasons to share them.

Titles of Sculptures Signal Ways to See Them: Falling Man by Douglas Kornfeld, Resurgence by David Kasman

Two sculptures near my house meant more than ever to me on January 20, 2021, with the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Maybe just the images are enough to explain my emotions, but I might find words, or you might add them, to affirm how directions make a difference at critical moments. Meanwhile here are some photos and facts.

Art Grows from Trees: Alan Sonfist and Richard Rosenblum at deCordova

Sonfist’s The Endangered Species of New England has been part of the Sculpture Park since 2013. Rosenblum’s Venusvine, created 1990, has been there since 1996. Both artworks reflect their artists’ deeply rooted work with trees. Both are metal renderings of natural forms. Both artworks have decisive locations in the park. They’ve held their ground while other artworks have moved around, left or entered in recent years.

Applaud Playground Turtles and their Creators: Nancy Schön and Lilli Ann Killen Rosenberg

Endurance is a quality shared by the turtle sculptures in this post. Lilli Ann Roseberg’s colorful concrete turtles in Cambridge have been ridden, jumped on, snowed in, flooded over and lots more in the past three decades. Nancy Schön’s bronze Myrtle the Turtle was bound up and relocated within Boston’s Myrtle Street Playground soon after settling in last year. These sculptures endured isolation while playgrounds were closed in the spring and then cautiously reopened.

Animal Sculptures by Judy McKie and Jay Coogan Prove Patient, Purposeful and Playful

Judy McKie’s bronze cat benches and Jay Coogan’s aluminum dogs and cats were kept off location during extensive construction of Cambridge Public school and library properties where they had become favorite features. Soon after they returned ready to resume their roles, the closing of all schools and libraries in March 2020 cut short the opportunities for children and adults to interact with them again. Though I had found opportunities to admire and photograph these artful animals, I didn’t want to share the images until the sculptures could be part of daily life once more.

Gardens in Radcliffe Yard Contain Changing and Constant Art

While kept apart from most indoor art  throughout the spring of 2020, I became especially grateful for the outdoor art in Radcliffe Yard. I managed to post about one sculpture then, with intentions to mention more. Here now is a broader view that encompasses other highlights of Radcliffe Yard.

James Tyler’s Tower of East Cambridge Faces Holds Power Over Time

My recent post about James Tyler’s Ten Figures in Davis Square led me to search out and visit his fourteen-foot tower of fifty bronze portraits completed in 1986.