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Arts and Humanities Local News

Ozkaya’s ‘David’ Arrives at 21C

Just in time to welcome Derby guests, 21C Museum Hotel’s over-sized version of Michelangelo’s David was installed on the corner of Main and Seventh streets today. He rolled in on the back of a truck and stood up onto his 8-foot pedestal with the help of a crane. He stands three stories tall, and his gold paint gleams in the bright May sun.

“David (inspired by Michelangelo)” is the work of Turkish conceptual artist Serkan Ozkaya. It joins 21C’s collection and will be on long-term display outside of the downtown museum.

21C curator Alice Gray Stites says Ozkaya’s statue is more than a giant eye-catching replica of a masterpiece. It’s a source of public engagement with the ideas behind the art.

“He’s raising questions about how do we define value, economic value and artistic value, what is an authentic art experience, what is our relationship to our own cultural legacy, what is it going forward, and what is iconography?” says Stites.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Students' Art Bikes Hit Downtown Streets Monday

Dozens of bikes that high school art students have transformed into art pieces go on display this weekend before being installed around downtown Monday. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Five years ago, the Louisville Downtown Management District provided old bikes to art students at downtown area high schools so they could make sculptures. The organization has done it again this year. And this weekend, the fruits of their labor — art bikes — are on exhibit.

The management district’s Ken Herndon says in January it gave 32 old bikes to students at the Brown School, duPont Manual, St. Francis and Presentation Academy.

“We said make some art out of these, totally carte blanche, whatever they wanted to do,” he says. “And we’ll have them on display this weekend at the Center for the Arts lobby.”

The management district, which is responsible for installing more than 30 bike racks by professional artists, gave old bikes to students in January. And those students have used them to create a variety of sculptures. Some have antlers and one includes tuba parts.

DuPont Manual High School art teacher Alana Alford says her students learned a lot from the project.

“It’s like a culmination of all their knowledge — especially the seniors — to put together their own ideas and then, of course, especially to see them out in the community,” Alford says. “And that really, really brings it home that they can do art for a living.”

Samantha Ludwig, a senior at duPont Manual High School, says she learned a lot working with her team to create one of the sculptures.

“Definitely problem solving, also working with different medias is important,” she says, “and just getting used to working with the community and trying to do something that can relate to not only artists but people who can appreciate it just walking down the street.”

The art bikes, now on exhibit at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, will be installed at bike racks on Monday for display through May 17.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Project Launches Day of the Dead Exhibits

3 tiers of DOTD shrineThis week the University of Louisville is celebrating the Day of the Dead, the Hispanic holiday that combines indigenous and Catholic traditions. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The university has partnered with cultural groups throughout the metropolitan area to create altars, as many Hispanics do on Nov. 1 to remember deceased loved ones.

The altars range from one for Bob Marley at St. Francis High School to one at Indiana University Southeast for U.S. victims of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U of L assistant professor of fine art Mary Carothers honor those who have died coming to this country for refuge on an outside wall of the 21C Museum Hotel. Carothers says it was inspired by The Devil’s Highway, a book assigned to U of L many classes this year about 26 men who tried to cross the Mexican and U.S. border in 2001. The 14 who survived are known as the Yuma 14.

“Those are marigolds and the hands are cast from immigrants now living in the United States who have moved here,” she says, “and many of them have some really interesting stories.”

These elements are among thousands of small monarch butterflies made of paper and which the class designed. The butterflies, which are affixed to the wall, have many different designs. The hands on the wall were made with the participation of 14 immigrants living in Louisville and from countries as varied as Germany, Cuba and Afghanistan.

Carothers says, like traditional altars, they arranged elements of the piece on three levels to represent the earth, the sky and the air in between.

“We have the marigolds on the ground level,” she says. “The hands that are in between and the monarch butterflies symbolizing a metamorphosis to heaven.”

The university has partnered with nine cultural groups throughout the area on this project, including the Archdiocese of Louisville, the Frazier International History Museum, the Louisville Science Center, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and the Muhammad Ali Center.

To listen to Elizabeth Kramer’s interview with Mary Carothers, visit The Edit.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Hundreds Attend Dedication of Lincoln Sculpture

Hundreds came out to Waterfront Park last night for the dedication a new statue of Abraham Lincoln by Louisville-based sculptor Ed Hamilton. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer was there.

A 50-piece orchestra was on hand for the ceremony to play Aaron Copeland’s “A Lincoln Portrait.” The ceremony celebrated the statue that depicts Lincoln imagined during his 1841 visit to Louisville, when he saw slavery in action.

lincoln-statue-005-bSculptor Ed Hamilton says this project taught him a lot about the 16th President of the United States.

“I saw the compassion that I didn’t know about Lincoln in the beginning,” Hamilton said. “This man came from nothing and had a consciousness and yet able to come through the grind of slavery and civil war.”

Artist Juliet Ehrlich worked with Hamilton to create walls with raised sculptures, called bas relief, that depict Lincoln and slavery.

“He had some loose sketches of where he wanted to go and we were phenomenal collaborators,” Ehrich said. “He gave me a huge measure of freedom once he saw my design strengths.”

Lindy Casebier of Kentucky’s Cabinet of Tourism, Arts and Heritage was there. He says the work is a powerful rendering of our history.

“Ed Hamilton’s work and this statue, it sends a message across Kentucky, what we’re working for in the cabinet and with the Arts Council that public art does matter and this is a legacy that will live forever,” Casebier said.

The ceremony was part of this year’s bicentennial celebrations of Lincoln’s birth near Hodgenville, Ky.

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Local Garden Sprouts Sculpture by Local Artists

Animating gardens with sculpture is an ancient art that was practiced by the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. Today, modern public gardens are increasingly incorporating contemporary art into vistas. The latest is Yew Dell Gardens, just east of Louisville. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer went to the gardens to see why.

Among clusters of ferns and hostas under the shade of a pine tree at Yew Dell Gardens, Louisville artist Bryan yew-dell-sculpture-show-0511Holden has just installed a towering sculpture. It’s made of steel and blue glass, and it surprises Karla Drover, Yew Dell’s assistant director.

“Where in your wildest imagination did you come up with this idea?” Drover asks Holden.
“Well, my current series of work is titled ‘Connecting Lives,'” Holden explains. “And it all started with…”

In Holden’s piece, a glass hand reaches up from the soil toward a gleaming silver hand hanging from an elevated pod. It’s just one of 60 pieces in Yew Dell’s “Sculpture in the Dell” that opens this weekend. The staff started this annual exhibit last year with outdoor sculpture by regional artists. Sculptures are now spread throughout the 33 acres here.

The idea for such a show actually came from regional sculptor Don Lawler. Drover says its success proved such an event was inevitable for this four-year old organization.

“Art in a garden — it was just a marriage just waiting to happen,” Drover says. “It’s the type of thing that gives yew-dell-sculpture-show-057you something else to admire and enjoy. And people make create some pretty incredible things.”

Paul Cappillo is Yew Dell’s executive director. He says this year’s exhibit is bigger.

“There are 60 pieces that range all the way from little portable, something you can just pick up and just move around, to seven or nine thousand-pound chunks of limestone that require a crane,” Cappillo says.

Mounting an exhibit of this scale has taught Cappillo and Drover how to place a wide variety of outdoor sculpture and that many sculptors in the region want more venues to show and sell their work, especially large pieces that are costly to transport to far-away venues. The first show expanded Yew Dell’s audience to art aficionados and turned garden enthusiasts onto art. It also attracted about 4,000 people, double the visitors from the same months during the previous year. And more than 15 sculptures were sold from the exhibit.

Those results don’t surprise Jep Bright.

“I’ve always said that sculpture is hugely popular, but only if you can get a lot of people to see it,” Bright says.

Bright is the son of one of Louisville’s most notable sculptors, Barney Bright. He died in 1997, but his work is front of the Mazzoli Federal Building in downtown Louisville and the Floyd County Public Library in Indiana. Bright also fostered other sculptors including Ed Hamilton, who made the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Jep Bright runs the Bright Foundry in Louisville’s Butchertown. For this year’s exhibit, the Bright family decided to create four pieces from molds their father made.

Locally large sculptures, especially those by Bright, have been popular for years. But only recently has the use of contemporary sculpture at botanical gardens become more widespread. Glen Harper, the editor of Sculpture magazine, says pairing contemporary art and gardens really took off after a 2001 installation by glass artist Dale Chihuly at Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory.

“It’s the first one that caught my attention and a lot of other people’s attention,” Harper says. “And they had a lot of success with it as a marriage of two different kinds of experiences for the visitor.”

Chihuly’s work went on to show in gardens nationwide.

In Kentucky, Karla Drover says Yew Dell has considered building the exhibit by inviting one nationally known artist, but she doesn’t want to stray too far afield.

“I think staying local is kind of what Yew Dell is all about,” Drover says. “We grow plants that thrive locally and we want to support the local economy and I think this is where we are going to stay for a bit.”

SLIDESHOWS

“Sculpture in the Dell” at Yew Dell  Gardens: A sampling of some of the 60 works showing in Yew Dell Gardens’ 2009 exibit with comments by Yew Dell Gardens assistant director, Karla Drover.

Birth of a Bright Sculpture: Brad White, a sculptor who works at the Bright Foundry, explains how he and other staff smelt metal and pour it into a mold by the late sculptor Barney Bright. White along with Jep Bright (Barney’s son) and others are making a piece entitled “Gaea,” the name for the primal Greek godess of the Earth.