Editor's note: As of July 3, the Albert Paley sculpture to be installed on the RIT campus has been changed to Cloaked Intention. It will go in the same location, the newly formed quad between Golisano Institute for Sustainability and Louise M. Slaughter Hall.
After making its debut during a prestigious event in New York City later this week, one of the 13 original pieces that eminent metal sculptor Albert Paley has created for a Park Avenue exhibition will have a permanent home on the RIT campus this fall.
The nearly 20-foot-tall sculpture known as Between the Shadows, weighing in at 5 tons, is scheduled for installation this November in the newly formed quad between Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) and Louise M. Slaughter Hall, according to James Watters, RIT senior vice president of finance and administration.
“When Albert shared with me his vision for the project and asked if the university would consider accepting one of these pieces after the conclusion of this prestigious show in New York City, we were very interested,” Watters says. “As we have done with additional quads on campus to create a more aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian-friendly area, this sculpture will nicely tie in the courtyard between GIS and the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS).”
Watters says plans for the new Paley sculpture’s arrival on campus—made possible by a generous gift from longtime RIT trustee Ann Mulligan—are already underway. The concrete pad serving as the sculpture’s foundation has been poured, “giving us the flexibility to deal with Western New York’s unpredictable weather in the late fall.”
In the meantime, Between the Shadows will be among 13 Paley sculptures—ranging in weight from 2.5 to 7.5 tons and up to 40 feet long—that will stand along the malls of Park Avenue in New York City from June 14 to Nov. 8. The sculptures will start at 52nd Street across from St. Bartholomew’s Church and stand uptown to 67th Street. Made of weathering (Corten) steel with natural and polychromed finishes, Between the Shadows will be sited on 53rd Street.
The project, some three years in the making, is the first major outdoor presence in New York for Paley, a distinguished professor who holds an endowed chair at RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. This also marks the first time the well-known sculptor, working with his staff of 16, has created so many works at one time.
WXXI is chronicling Paley’s huge undertaking in a series of online videos documenting the effort. Titled Paley on Park Avenue: New York City, the multimedia series follows Paley as he creates the original pieces, marking the first time that WXXI has premiered a series on the Internet. The six-part series—which includes interviews with Watters—rolls out one new episode every Thursday morning through the finale on June 20, which will feature installation of each sculpture.
In addition, the series will include segments broadcast Friday nights on Need to Know Rochester on WXXI-TV. WXXI radio and television will follow the completion of the sculptures and their installation on Park Avenue, culminating in a full-length PBS documentary. The project will also utilize social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to expand its reach and impact.
WXXI was granted unprecedented access to Paley and his studios to document the creation of these pieces for The Fund for Park Avenue’s Temporary Public Art Collection and their installation.
“Working on 13 major sculptures over a two-year period was a totally demanding and exhilarating experience for the studio and me,” says Paley. “The Park Avenue series was approached with such an intensity that it mandated more pre-planning, organization and quick decision making than anything I have faced thus far in my life as an artist.”
WXXI.org/paleynyc also offers extended looks at each individual piece as it is created, studio photos, and social media links for more in-depth information and background.
The full-length PBS documentary, which will comprehensively follow the project from conception to installation, is also being developed by WXXI.
The Sculpture Committee of The Fund for Park Avenue and the Public Art Program of the City of New York’s Department of Parks & Recreation have collaborated with artists to exhibit artwork on the medial strip of Park Avenue since 2000. Paley is the 20th artist to participate in the project.
Funding for the Albert Paley exhibition on Park Avenue is generously provided by Ann Mulligan, RIT, Kathy and Marc LeBaron, Kenneth and Constance Hess, John and Fonda Elliot and Klein Steel.
Paley, an active artist for more than 40 years, is the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Institute Honors awarded by the American Institute of Architects, the AIA’s highest award to a non-architect. Commissioned by both public institutions and private corporations, Paley has completed more than 50 site-specific works, including the Sentinel, an iconic 73-foot tall sculpture in the administration circle at RIT. Broadly published and an international lecturer, Paley received both his BFA and MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.