Sunday, September 16, 2012

Visual Medley

Summertime, a random walk in New Orleans brings me to the K&B Plaza. For months...years, I have been driving by, every day, on my way to work. The building, occupied by offices, was purchased by the art collector Sydney Besthoff and some pieces of the collection are on display for the public. Of course, most of the outdoor sculptures from the Sydney and Walda Besthoff collection can be seen at the NOMA's sculpture garden
The small Plaza stays cool in the shade of a few trees, refreshed by the mist from Isamu Noguchi's sculpture-fountain, " The Mississippi",1961. "The Bird" (for Charlie Parker),1979, from Charles Ginnever looks like a giant blue piece of origami. With a steep angle of attack (aeronautical term), the sculpture appears unstable and heavy and at the same time ready to fly and soar in the blue sky. The iconic piece represents the work made by Ginnever in the 1970's. The sculptor stated "The sculpture is not made to trick anybody. It's just that [in] the way they are placed, they challenge our perception."  A sculpture from George Rickey swings in the wind and frames the clouds. Like in any collection, there are odds and ends, a sculpture from Tony Cragg"Sinbad", 2000, appears discarded in the background. Arthur Silverman's sculpture "Interlocking boxes", 1978, from Arthur Silverman, a local surgeon-sculptor is given a prime spot in front of the building. The visitor can sit in the shade on "Three Hand and Foot Bench".
In the entrance hall, two soundsuits from Nick Cave, 2011, (recent acquisitions) greet the visitor. Loud, colorful, they represent the "New Orleans Mardi Gras" spirit and clash with a minimalist sculpture from Nicolas Schoffer, "Chronos 8", 1986, and a white marble sculpture from Nicolas Neri " Carrara Figure #2", 1979 faced by a succession of randomly selected works: a bronze from Renoir , "Bust of Venus", 1915, next to a sculpture form Lin Emery, "Variations", 1978, a kitschy clock from the furniture designer Wendell Castle, "Bird Clock", 1984. Then, right and left, two narrow passages are cramped with paintings, sculptures mainly from the 70's and 80's. Three photo realists painters are featured with "Sunset Street", 1984, Robert Bechtle , "Bond's Corner Spring", 1975, Tom Blackwell , "Pullman", 1974, John Baeder. Sculptures scattered along the walls,  organic like "Sunburst", 1964, from Harry Bertoia or Michel Malpass, clash with "Sunbird", 1982 from Nikki de Saint-Phalle. Two paintings from Charles Bell complete the display (I may have forgotten a few names).
 The randomness of the display transforms the visit into an adventure. I had to squat to get a better look at some pieces, under the eyes of amused office workers behind their glass doors.

photographs by the author:
"The Mississippi", 1961, Isamu Noguchi
"The Bird" (for Charlie Parker). 1979, Charles Ginnever
"Pin Ball #3", 1984, Charles Bell
"Sunbird", 1982, Nikki de Saint-Phalle
"Three Hand and Foot Bench"

No comments: