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Monday, June 15th, 2015

The Bennington Legacy: Willard Boepple, Isaac Witkin and James Wolfe


Isaac Witkin, Shogun, 1968.  Welded steel. Photograph by Alison Sheehy, courtesy of Tower 49 Gallery

Isaac Witkin, Shogun, 1968. Welded steel. Photograph by Alison Sheehy, courtesy of Tower 49 Gallery

The Surrealists had a fabulous notion of a secret corridor that could take you right through Paris, from building to building, without encumbering itself with the street. In a way, New York has its own corporate version of that fantasy: the lobbies of trading towers that, whether through altruism or planning obligation, the public is entitled to traverse. One curatorially-inclined causeway is Tower 49 Gallery, comprising the lobby, sky lobby (stunning bird’s eyes of the Rockefeller Center by the way) and exterior spaces of 12 East 49th Street, a recently upgraded 1980s tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in the Kato International portfolio. Its exhibition program, directed by Ms. Ai Kato, currently features the stunningly installed “Bennington Legacy: Sculpture by Willard Boepple, Isaac Witkin and James Wolfe”. As guest curator Karen Wilkin explains in an accompanying catalogue, Bennington – both town and gown – formed a nexus of sculptural experimentation for several generations: both Wolfe and Boepple (who was actually born in Bennington) served as assistants to South African native Witkin.  Witkin’s sole work on view is his magnificent Shogun, 1968, a welded steel sculpture placed outside the glass and steel building. The sculpture is as solid and flexible as you’d expect a warrior to be: the squat ziggurat to the right feels like it could fold and store in the half-section of cone to the left in a feat of origami.

The Bennington Legacy remains on view through October 29 at 12 East 49th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenue, open weekdays 9am to 6pm

James Wolfe, Quartet Purple, 2012. Powder Coated Steel, 112 x 60 x 28 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.

James Wolfe, Quartet Purple, 2012. Powder Coated Steel, 112 x 60 x 28 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.

Williard Boepple, Woman who Blamed Life on a Spaniard, 999. pine, graphite, stain, wax. 51 x 40 x 27 inches.  Courtesy of the artist and Lori Bookstein Fine Art

Williard Boepple, Woman who Blamed Life on a Spaniard, 999. pine, graphite, stain, wax. 51 x 40 x 27 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lori Bookstein Fine Art


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