Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pure fabrication

Recently we’ve been spending some time visiting a foundry that specialises in making art works. The owner of the foundry has been through art school and, apart from his expertise with some sort of plaster-like substance, wax and metal (which seem to be the big three of the casting process), he and his team also have the same sort of intuitive approach to materials you see with artists. It’s very impressive.

It reminded us again of the army of makers that contributes to many art works. We’ve already posted on the marble carvers used by artists like Jeff Koons and the Auckland firm that fabricated the gigantic Anish Kapoor on Alan Gibbs' sculpture park The Farm.

Now via a great article in The Paris Review we have discovered Lippincott Inc, fabricators of super-sized sculptures in metal including Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk that exercised us so much when we were in Berlin. Founded in 1966, Lippincott Inc's heyday was in the late sixties and seventies when, in addition to working with Barnett Newman, it fabricated Claes Oldenburg's mega-mitt Standing Mitt with Ball and works by Louise Nevelson, Ellsworth Kelly and Robert Indiana as well as almost 100 others. Lippincott Inc helped change the scale and ambition of contemporary American sculpture. As the article's author Jonathan Lippincott. (yes, he’s the son of the founder) says of Lippincott Inc, "It got bigger, it moved outdoors, it asserted itself as a modern form of public monument."

Images: Lippincott Inc at work installing Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk (1969) top and bottom, rolling the metal for Oldenburg’s Standing Mitt and Ball (1973). Photographs from The Paris Review via Jonathan Lippincott Large Scale: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s