Major Mark Park

Wingdale (Untitled #1)

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Wingdale by Roger Bolomey (1918 – 2011) is one of six artworks sponsored by the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) in the early 1970s. ABNY was a group formed in 1971 by 100 business leaders under the direction of Lewis Rudin, whose goal was to galvanize the private sector in augmenting the City’s efforts to deliver public services as well as help upgrade and beautify public spaces. ABNY bought the sculptural pieces with the intent of displaying them on a rotational basis at varying sites throughout the five boroughs.

The painted Cor-ten steel Wingdale was first displayed in 1971 at the northern plaza of Dante Park opposite Lincoln Center in Manhattan, and then in front of the Queens Supreme Courthouse the following year.  The sculpture was moved again as intended, and installed in 1973 at Major Mark Park where it remained on a permanent basis, as the program was evidently discontinued. Some other pieces commissioned by ABNY include William Crovello’s Cubed Curve (1972), now located in front of the Time & Life Building and Antoni Milkowski’s Skagerrak  (1972), was once located in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park and relocated in 2001 to Bellevue South Park. 

Artist Roger Bolomey was born in Torrington, Connecticut.  Between 1947 and 1950 he studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.  From 1948 to 1960 he considered himself primarily a painter, but took up sculpting in earnest in 1960, achieving recognition for his spare, geometric welded-steel pieces.  Bolomey was a professor of art at Herman H. Lehman College (CUNY) from 1968 to 1975, and served as chairman of the art department during the last two years of his tenure there.  During this time he lived and worked in Wingdale, New York (in the township of Dover Plains), from which this sculpture derives its name.  From 1975 to 1983 he was a professor of art on the faculty of California State University at Fresno, serving as the departmental chairman from 1975 to 1978.

Bolomey’s work was included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including shows at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the Whitney Museum of Art, and Royal Marks Gallery.  A piece of his was displayed in the American Express Building at the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65. In 1968, Bolomey exhibited Zinal I at the Brooklyn Museum, as part of the “Sculpture of the Month” program managed by Doris Freedman of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.  His sculptures are found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, among other institutions.

Besides Wingdale, his public commissions include sculptures at the New York State Office building in Hauppauge, the South Mall project in Albany, New York, First Street Park in Evansville, Indiana, Southridge Shopping Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and P.S. 152 in the Bronx, New York.  Of his life's endeavors, Bolomey commented: "My ultimate goal is to lead a fully creative life with the hope that what I do and the way I live will stimulate others to do the same."

The style of Wingdale is typical of Bolomey’s work in the decade from 1961 to 1971, exhibiting a strong constructivist, spare abstract aesthetic. Many of these pieces, as with this one, explore a visual relationship between two faceted planar vertical columns intersecting and rising from a common base.  In 2012 Parks' Citywide Monuments Conservation Program, a public-private initiative, fully conserved and repainted the sculpture with the bright red hue the artist originally intended.  A long-standing provisional base that had disguised the lower portion of the sculpture was removed and the sculpture was remounted on a concrete foundation flush with the surrounding lawn.

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