For Immediate Release: October 19, 2010
Contact: Anne Cathcart, Curatorial Assistant, 413.298.3579, ext. 25216, Anne_Cathcart@nthp.org, or Donna Hassler, Director, 413.298.3579, ext. 25219, Donna_Hassler@nthp.org. Images available upon request.
Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood 2010 Artist John Belardo Receives Viewers’ Choice Award, Sponsored by Berkshire Living
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. – Chesterwood, A National Trust Historic Site, announces the conclusion of its annual Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood exhibition. Sculptor John Belardo of Pine Plains, New York, is this year’s recipient of the Viewers’ Choice Award, sponsored by Berkshire Living, for his sculpture Geo Eye (2008). Sculptor Christopher Smith of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, previously won the Lillian Heller Curator’s Award and sculptor Nina Levy of Brooklyn, New York, was the recipient of the Chesterwood Advisory Board Award. Chesterwood closed for the season on Monday, October 11, and will reopen to the public on May 28, 2011.
Chesterwood is the historic home, studio, gardens and woodland walks of America’s foremost public sculptor, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), famous for his sculpture of a seated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. Since 1978, Chesterwood has hosted a juried outdoor contemporary sculpture exhibition on its rambling 122-acre estate in Stockbridge. This annual exhibition commemorates French’s distinguished life and career and provides an important showcase for the work of today’s finest contemporary sculptors.
Over 500 visitors cast ballots for their favorite sculpture in CSC 2010, and Mr. Belardo’s steel sculpture, Geo Eye, received ten percent of the vote. Michael Zivyak, founder and publisher of Berkshire Living, presented Mr. Belardo his award at a special ceremony and reception on Monday, October 11. This is the fourth consecutive year that Berkshire Living has sponsored the Viewers’ Choice Award ($250).
Mr. Belardo’s sculpture Geo Eye looks out into the forest surrounding Chesterwood, recasting the human eye as a faceted, crystalline form that echoes the underlying geometry that organizes the physical world. Echoing the sentiments of many other voters, one person wrote on his ballot, “I first looked at it and just saw triangles, and then I noticed the eye. It’s beautiful!” On their ballots, other visitors described Mr. Belardo’s unique sculpture as “exceptional,” “mystical,” “creative,” “lovely,” and “intriguing.” One visitor commended Mr. Belardo for his “nice combination of curved forms and straight lines” and “exciting peek-a-boo slits!” Another wrote, “[Geo Eye was the] first sculpture I saw, and it made me keep my eyes open to the art and woods.” Several visitors commented on the interplay of light and shadow on Mr. Belardo’s work, remarking on the appropriate siting of his sculpture in Chesterwood’s woodland environment. One visitor admired how the work “blends so beautifully with nature,” and another observed that its appearance “changes with the light.” A visitor succinctly summarized the appeal of Mr. Belardo’s sculpture, describing Geo Eye as “conceptually, structurally, and artistically interesting.”
This year’s exhibition, Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood 2010, explored the fullness and complexity of the contemporary figurative presence in the landscape. CSC 2010 presented the work of twelve artists and opened with a preview reception and awards ceremony on June 18. The exhibition’s Guest Curator and Juror, Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, previously presented the Lillian Heller Curator’s Award ($1,500) to Christopher Smith for his sculpture 4PM (2008) and the Chesterwood Advisory Board Award ($500) to Nina Levy for her two works featured in the exhibition, Stroller (2004) and Shirtheads (2009-10). The Lillian Heller Curator’s Award is an endowed award created by the family of Mrs. Heller, a sculptor, to memorialize her love of the arts and her commitment to encouraging and recognizing contemporary sculptors. The Chesterwood Advisory Board Award is sponsored by the Chesterwood Advisory Board and presented by the Guest Curator.
Christopher Smith’s work 4PM takes the usually brutal medium of concrete and transforms it into a tableau of four graceful young women. Smith’s sculpture, through modeling that simultaneously includes both subtle exaggeration and simplification, achieves a level of idealization that makes the work more alive than an approach that is strictly realistic. In Nina Levy’s work Stroller, the artist has put her own anxious portrait into the space reserved for an infant, suggesting that the mother is as helpless as the child. In the two new works, Shirtheads, Levy has obscured her own portrait bust with children’s shirts, reinforcing a sense of being literally smothered with responsibility.
The twelve artists represented in the CSC 2010 exhibition were Gabriel Edward Adams (Great Barrington, Mass.), John Belardo (Pine Plains, New York), Rick Brown (Norwell, Mass.), Tim de Christopher (Turners Falls, Mass.), Philip Grausman (Washington, Conn.), Peter DeCamp Haines (Cambridge, Mass.), Sarah Haviland (Crompond, New York), Phyllis Kulmatiski (Scotia, New York), Nina Levy (Brooklyn, New York), Tim Prentice (West Cornwall, Conn.), Mary Ellen Scherl (Tenafly, New Jersey), and Christopher Smith (Philadelphia, Penn.).
John Belardo has an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the Graduate School of Figurative Art of the New York Academy of Art. His permanent installations include Allegory of Saint Jean Batiste De La Salle, Martin De Porres Center, Elmont, New York (2008); A. Will Sears Memorial, Cooperstown Theater Festival, Cooperstown, New York (2007); Lee S. Kreindler Medal of Excellence, International Academy of Trial Lawyers (2006); Portrait of Governor Herbert H. Lehman, Lehman College, CUNY (2004); and Homo Faber, Garden of Great Ideas Sculpture Garden, Georgetown University, Washington, DC (2001). His recent exhibitions include “Sculpture 2010” at Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts, Long Branch, New Jersey; “Art in the Heart of the City” for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Ithaca, New York (2010); “New York, NY” at Lana Santorelli Gallery, New York, New York (2009); “Poison” at Curatoris Matter, Jersey City, New Jersey (2009); and “Spctclr Vws” at One Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York (2009). He is the recipient of multiple CUNY Research Awards, a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), and the Medal of Honor for Sculpture, presented by the American Artists Professional League. For more information, please visit www.johnbelardo.com.
Richard Klein is a Connecticut-based artist, curator, and writer. Currently Exhibitions Director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, his recent curatorial projects have included Fred Wilson: Black Like Me in 2005, No Reservations: Native American History and Culture in Contemporary Art in 2006, and Elizabeth Peyton: Portrait of an Artist in 2008. He has most recently organized a major traveling sculpture project with the artist’s collaborative Type A, with venues including the Tang Museum at Skidmore College (2009), the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts (2010), and The Aldrich (2011), and the first significant exhibition of the sculpture of Edward Tufte presented at The Aldrich from June 2009 to April 2010. As an artist, he has exhibited widely, including the Neuberger Museum of Art at SUNY Purchase; Caren Golden Fine Art, New York; the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Hales Gallery, London; and Gavlak Gallery in Palm Beach, FL. For more information, please visit www.aldrichart.org.
Chesterwood, A National Trust Historic Site, is the country home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost public sculptor, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), creator of the Minute Man (1875) in Concord, Mass., and Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial (1922) in Washington, DC. In 2011, Chesterwood will be open daily, May 28 through October 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chesterwood is located at 4 Williamsville Road, off Route 183, in Stockbridge, Mass. For more information, go to www.chesterwood.org or call 413.298.3579, ext. 25210.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.PreservationNation.org) is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.