Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVII, Number 5574
Tuesday, Mar 06, 2012

Rafael Barrios’ Monumental Sculptures Debut On Park Avenue

Photo by Daniel Avila

Parks & Recreation, The Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee, and Art Nouveau Gallery are pleased to announce a public art exhibition by distinguished Venezuelan-American artist Rafael Barrios on the Park Avenue Malls between 50th and 68th Streets.

On view through June 30, 2012, this ambitious exhibition includes nine boldly colored, visually intriguing steel sculptures. This exhibition opens concurrently with the The Armory Show, where Art Nouveau Gallery will showcase Barrios’ smaller-scale work.

Rafael Barrios has been recognized as one of the most innovative contemporary Latin American artists. Since the 1970’s he has continued to perfect his unique concept of Virtualism, a movement that he describes as “the creation of visually [participatory] pieces by dislocating events in our perception. Volume is virtually modeled and modified in form—depending on distance—shifting with the position of the observer and the changes in light throughout the day.”

Experimenting with form and volume, Barrios intends to trick the eye, creating a territory where the laws of gravity do not exist and objects appear balanced in space. As people stroll down the avenue or speed by in their cars, the geometric sculptures will be in continuous flux—weighty, broad cubes will morph, exposing their true slenderness and Barrios’ expertise in illusion.

A publication on Barrios’ work will be released in April 2012, bringing Barrios’ body of work to the anglo-speaking community for the first time. With an essay by renowned art critic and historian Robert C. Morgan, the book will have an anthological tone, culminating with the exhibition on Park Avenue.

Rafael Barrios (b. 1947) was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and raised in Venezuela. He studied art and philosophy at New York University. He currently lives and works between Miami, Paris and Caracas. During an artistic career of almost 40 years, Barrios has participated in over one hundred solo and group exhibitions. His distinctive work is found in prominent museum and institutional collections such as the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; the Sofía Imber Contemporary Museum of Art and the Galeria de Arte Nacional, both in Caracas, Venezuela; as well as the Museum of Outdoor Sculptures in Spain. His sculptures are also found in important private collections such as Gustavo and Patricia Cisneros, King Juan Carlos of Spain, and Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis of Germany.

Art Nouveau Galeria was founded in Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1987 by Elizabeth Hazim de Castillo and, with Hazim de Castillo’s daughter-in-law and partner Georgina Chumaceiro as its Director, expanded to Wynwood Arts District, Miami in 2010 as Art Nouveau Gallery. The gallery features modern and contemporary art focused on the geometric abstraction art, widely explored in Latin America, and ranges from emerging and mid-career artists as Carlos Medina and Alberto Cavalieri to major historical art figures such as Cruz Diez and Jesús Rafael Soto.

The installation is presented under the auspices of The Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee and New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, who work together to present a variety of exhibitions by renowned artists on this unique venue. The Fund for Park Avenue relies on community support to plant, light and maintain the trees and flowers on the Park Avenue Malls.

The City of New York’s Department of Parks & Recreation 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.

Rafael Barrios is the latest in a long list of distinguished artists to exhibit on Park Avenue. Previous exhibitions have included Deborah Butterfield, Robert Indiana, Jun Kaneko, Will Ryman, Yoshitomo Nara and George Rickey. To view a complete history of art on Park Avenue visit www.nycgovparks.org/art and www.fundforparkavenue.org.


“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”

William Goldman
(1931 - )

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