Bellevue South Park
This abstract sculpture, consisting of three interlocking, identically sized oblongs made of Cor-Ten steel, is the work of contemporary artist Antoni Milkowski (b. 1935). A gift to the City by the Association for a Better New York, it was fabricated in 1969-70 and installed at the south end of Madison Square Park in 1972.
Milkowski was born October 7, 1935 in Evanston, Illinois, and his family moved to New York City in 1937. He graduated with a degree in biology from Kenyon College in 1957, took additional sciences classes at Columbia University, and considered medical school training. In 1958 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Officers Candidate Program, and took drawing and art history classes at the University of California extension program, while stationed in San Diego.
In 1961, Milkowski was discharged from the Marine Corps, returned to New York, was hired as a recreation leader by Parks, and enrolled the following year in an M.A. program at Hunter College. Working on and off in the Queens parks, Milkowski taught art at the Lost Batallion Hall Recreation Center. At this time he began to explore modular constructions, and he studied with such artists as Ad Reinhardt, George Sugerman, and Tony Smith. In 1964 he received a Fulbright grant and worked and lectured at the Art Academy of the University of Warsaw in Poland.
In 1965, Milkowski returned to New York, rejoined Parks, and taught classes at Hunter College. The next year he moved to Salem, New York and was appointed to the faculty of Hunter College. He retired 33 years later in 1998 as full professor and graduate advisor. Milkowski’s first one-man exhibition was at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1967. That same year, the installation of his sculpture Diamond at Kips Bay Plaza was included in the City’s first foray into the display of outdoor contemporary art, a group show called Sculpture in Environment.
Milkowski received his first commissions of outdoor sculpture in 1968: Diamond at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, and Salem 7 at the South Mall Project, in Albany. He has had numerous exhibits and commissions since, and continues to explore his minimalist, geometric sculptural imagery. Today he lives and works in East Chatham, New York.
In the early 1970s Skagerrak was one of six sculptures by different artists that were donated to the City by the Association for a Better New York -- an organization whose mission is to beautify and enliven public spaces. Though abstract in form, the piece derives its name from an arm of the North Sea that separates Denmark and Norway. The strict geometry involves variations of the same form in space, represents a subtle physical balancing act, and is meant to contrast with the earth-toned patina which forms on the surface of Cor-Ten steel.
The piece was first placed at the triangle just north of the Flatiron building at 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway, and then was deposited in a grassy area in this park. It was relocated from the historic confines of the restored Madison Square Park and integrated into a more sympathetic, naturalistic landscape in Bellevue South Park at East 28th Street.
- Location: East 26th Street to East 28th Street, and 2nd Avenue
- Sculptor: Antoni H. Milkowski
- Description: Three solid rectangular forms, joined at different angles in a line, and balanced on three points
- Materials: Cor-ten steel
- Dimensions: H: 7' W: 7' D: 16'
- Cast: ca. 1971
- Dedicated: 1971
- Donor: Association for a Better New York