simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Sylvette
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Tuesday, 3 April 2007


This is the Bust of Sylvette, an enlarged version of an original sculpture, Portrait of Sylvette, done by Picasso in 1934. The new piece, 60 tons and 36 feet tall, was reinterpreted/executed by Norwegian sculptor Carl Nesjär in 1968. The sculpture sits in the courtyard of Silver Towers development (originally University Village), a complex of three 32-storey apartment buildings - two used as NYU faculty housing (Silver Towers) and one a middle-income coop. One of these towers is seen in the photo. The sculpture was commissioned by architect I. M. Pei who designed the buildings in 1966 for New York University. I find this small plaza and its surrounding buildings somewhat bleak, however architectural reviews generally seem quite favorable, citing many unique features of the design and construction of the towers. The sculpture's concrete was made with a Norwegian black stone aggregate, sandblasted to recreate the etched black lines of the original. Picasso was involved in the scaled translation, material and its placement in the plaza. In 1972, Christo (the environmental installation artist who did the Gates of Central Park numerous other works) did a wrapping of the sculpture - Wrapped Sylvette...


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