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The Daily Plant : Thursday, March 8, 2007

Manolo Valdes At Bryant Park


Photo by Clare Weiss

Public art is thriving in New York City. On Tuesday, The Daily Plant reported on Barry Flanagan’s Large Left Handed Drummer in Union Square Park. Today, we focus on a new installation less than 30 blocks north of there in Bryant Park.

Manolo Valdés at Bryant Park is an exhibition of monumental bronze sculptures by the renowned Spanish painter and sculptor, Manolo Valdés. The exhibition features six works arranged among Bryant Park’s beautifully scaled open space and neo-classical architecture. The work is on view from March 1 through April 15, courtesy of the Parks Department, the Bryant Park Corporation, Instituto Cervantes, and the Marlborough Gallery.

The exhibition consists of four sculptures depicting female heads, their calm facial composure and structured equilibrium offset rhythmically by dynamic ornamental headpieces. Two of the four works, all of which measure over 13 feet high, are debuting in Bryant Park. Accompanying these forms are two groups of elegantly imposing figures based on Diego Velázquez’ Infanta Margarita and Reina Mariana from the painting Las Meninas. In these works, Valdés draws inspiration from an art-historical motif, as he does in much of his work, using his own visual language to skillfully play tribute to one of the great masters.

Valdés has received honors and commissions from Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Venezuela. In 2005, a large exhibition of his sculptures of both Infanta Margarita and Reina Mariana opened to critical acclaim in Paris at the Palais Royal, then traveling to Switzerland and Spain. In 2006, several of these sculptures were featured at the Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona, the first West Coast venue for Valdés’ work. In 2002, as part of Parks & Recreation’s public art program, Valdés exhibited a monumental bronze sculpture entitled La Dama on Park Avenue. Currently a traveling exhibition entitled Manolo Valdés: Monumental Sculpture, is on view in Córdoba, Spain. Through 2008, it will tour through Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Bilbao and Saragossa.

Valdés completed two of his most important commissions to date in 2003: three monumental bronze sculptures, Las Damas de Barajas, which was created for Madrid’s highly acclaimed new international airport, and La Dama del Manzanares, which presides majestically over Madrid’s Parque del Mazanares and is his largest sculpture at 45-feet high. In 1999, Valdés was the official representative of Spain at the Venice Biennale. Recent retrospectives of Valdés’ paintings, sculpture and graphic work have been held at the Guggenehim Bilbao in 2002 and Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in 2006. An important solo exhibition at the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul was also held in 2006.

Parks & Recreation’s public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in New York City parks.


QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

“I am the grass; I cover all.”

Carl Sandburg
(1878-1967)

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