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Press Releases

Wednesday, July 30, 2003
No. 78


Darrell Petit’s “Gondwana, for Richard Bellamy” on View Through June 4, 2004

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce the exhibition of Gondwana, for Richard Bellamy, a Stony Creek Granite and wood sculpture by Darrell Petit through June 4, 2004 in Riverside Park at the 91st Street entrance. The Project is funded by the Akira Ikeda Gallery and the Athena Foundation.

In this work, Petit has taken a naturally-existing block of molten pink granite and ancient black biotite and shaped it into sculpture using fire, wood and other subtle artistic interventions. Guided by an interest in alchemy and transformation, Petit embraces the geological processes that created the granite and pushes those processes one step further. The title Gondwana refers to an ancient geologic time when the landmass that is now Connecticut was attached to the African continent, highlighting the permanence and geologic origins of the stone. Similar to Frederick Law Olmsted’s philosophy of nature as evolution, the sculpture is designed to evolve over time.

The formal beauty and symbolic content of Petit’s sculpture is particularly resonant when viewed in the context of New York City’s natural and built environments. Many buildings and monuments in the city make use of Stony Creek Granite, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, as well as the Samuel Tilden sculpture and terrace in Riverside Park and 13 other monuments in Parks & Recreation’s permanent collection.

Gondwana is a tribute in stone to Richard Bellamy, the art dealer who was instrumental in introducing Petit and other now-famous artists, such as Mark di Suvero, Donald Judd, and James Rosenquist, early in their artistic careers. Darrell Petit has been working at the historic Stony Creek Granite Quarry in Branford, Connecticut, as a sculptor-in-residence for twelve years. Known for his monumental sculptures, he has just completed a 100-ton sculpture for the Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History. Petit’s work is included in permanent collections in the United States and abroad and has been exhibited in numerous public venues, including Cesar Pelli’s Museum and Cultural Center in Kurayaoshi, Japan, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Empire-Fulton State Park in New York City.

Parks & Recreation’s temporary 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 City parks. Committed to the exhibition of art by emerging and established artists, Parks & Recreation has supported projects ranging from international exhibitions in flagship parks to local, community works in neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and traffic islands.


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