Buying art for their Manhattan apartment, Scott Helfgott, an academic director, and Bernard Whitman, a corporate and political brand strategist, felt slightly apprehensive. With their busy work schedules, they feared devoting time and concentration to the pursuit for the perfect artwork to adorn their walls.
Yet, with the motivating effort of nAscent Art New York’s co-founder Jennifer Wallace, the couple and consultant ventured to the studio of a nAscent artist to find what would become works of art they couldn’t live without.
The semi-industrial feel of Miya Ando’s Brooklyn studio provides the ideal space to create her metal masterpieces.
Concrete floors and good ventilation soothe the hazards of her creative processes – fire, acid, and dyes.
The exquisite artwork filling Ando’s studio testify to her impeccable talent, and doesn’t wait long for buyers hoping to find a signature piece for their own walls.
Miya Ando in her Dumbo, Brooklyn art studio (Photo: Richard Chang)
A wonderful combination of fate, focus, and artistic impression make an acquisition of such beauty possible.
After Scott and Bernard had remodeled their home several years ago, they decided – “it’s time to hang original works of art on our apartment walls.”
Jennifer introduced Scott and Bernard to nAscent’s talented artists through the iPad swipes of a digital catalogue, an easy perusal made fun with Jen’s offerings of cheese and wine!
After choosing a few favorites, the group visited the artists’ studios in search of artwork with color and zen to complement the elegant interior design of Scott and Bernard’s home.
Upon entering her studio, Scott and Bernard at once connected to Ando and her work.
“I’m so grateful to be in the presence of a client and really listen to what the client needs,” said Ando.
When Scott and Bernard entered Ando’s studio, their eyes met a strikingly peaceful creation, Ascension Red, immediately prompting a ”love at first sight” response.
The idyllic anodized aluminum piece lead to the purchase of yet another, Ascension Blue, closing the day with resounding success for both artist and collectors.
Ascension Blue and Ascension Red by Miya Ando
Her artistic execution of gradual light transformation and meditative tonalities captivated Scott and Bernard, and proved to be the necessary “pop” of art they needed on their walls.
Soon thereafter, Ando’s pieces hung above Scott and Bernard’s living room couch, installed professionally by nAscent, and gently lit by their tasteful sconces.
Scott Helfgott and Bernard Whitman’s Chelsea apartment with Miya Ando’s Ascension Blue and Ascension Red
With a pleased grin and glimmering eyes, Scott said, “We couldn’t be happier with Miya’s artwork, and we certainly could not have done it without Jen.”
We’ve been raving about artist Miya Ando a lot here on The Bare Square. Coincidentally we mentioned her in a recent article about another incredible steel artist. Well this week Steel is IN!
I was exchanging emails with Miya when she learned some very exciting news. The Bare Square was the first to find out! Miya Ando was just awarded a Pollock-Krasner grant–one of the most prestigious and coveted fine art awards available.
PKF grants help artists cover operational expenses like studio rent, art materials and medical expenses, and the award represents an invaluable opportunity for an artist to focus on the creation of artwork, take on a residency, or prepare for their next major exhibition.
Miya Ando solo exhibition 'Elements' Galerie Sho Contemporary Art, Tokyo Photographer: Yuji Shiraki
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation (PKF), founded in 1985, provides financial assistance to individual working visual artists who have worked as artists for a significant period of time. They base their grants on artistic merit and financial need.
Last fiscal year, they awarded over $1.5 million to 95 recipients. Since their inception, they have distributed over 3,500 grants totaling $54 million.
The grants are made possible from the estate of the late Lee Krasner, a celebrated abstract expressionist painter, and widow of Jackson Pollock.
In March, The Bare Square reported onthe controversy and delays involving a public art project by artist Miya Ando, specifically her September 11 commissioned artwork memorial in the city of London made with steel from The World Trade Center donated by the city of New York. [Editor's Note: Ando has worked with nAscent Art New York, publisher of The Bare Square, for four years.]
London marked September 11th this year with the unveiling of the sculpture, but the plot has thickened.
Now that New York City has donated WTC steel, now that the commissioning group (the 9/11 London Project Foundation) has accepted the work, now that the sculpture is complete and unveiled, London has reneged on it’s promise display the sculpture permanently, as reported by UK newspaper The Independent.
Artist Miya Ando with London Mayor Boris Johnson (R) and former New York Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen at the unveiling of her commissioned sculpture on Sept. 5, 2011. Called "After 9/11," the sculpture is now in storage. (Photo credit: Canada.com)
We asked Ando, the artist and sculptor, for an update on the situation.
“The sculpture was installed in a temporary location in Battersea Park for the commemoration ceremony of 9/11. It is now being stored until a permanent location is decided by the 9/11 London Project Foundation and The City of London,” Ando explained.
No plans for the sculpture’s permanent display have been made public, or revealed to the artist.
“The 9/11 London Project Foundation is responsible for the placement of the piece. I haven’t been involved on any level in the logistics or in the decision-making for the location for the sculpture or finding a site for it,” said Ando.
“I was approached directly by the 9/11 London Foundation in 2009, they said they wanted to commission me to create a sculpture from a piece of World Trade Center steel, to be installed in London. My sole responsibility was to select a piece of World Trade Center Steel and design and create a sculpture using that steel.”
According to The Independent, London Mayor Boris Johnson made the decision to accept the sculpture without proper plans in place for what to do with it. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey presented the sculpture to London on the condition that it be permanently featured in a prominent London location.
The fact that it has been removed from it’s original location and a permanent home has still not been decided may be seen as “insulting” to Americans, said The Independent.
New York firefighter, Lee Ielpi, who lost his son – also a fireman – was quoted as saying, “The world needs to understand who did this to us, why and what we can do to prevent it ever happening again. That only comes through education of the next generation. We would be disappointed if the piece of steel graciously given to London as a mark of respect is not given a prominent position.”
Ando says, “I only know that the sculpture is in storage in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. I was not part of that decision, I was only told recently that it would be moved. I have not been told whether or not a new location has been decided yet, but I know that the 9/11 London Project Foundation is working towards finding a permanent home for the piece.”
Below, Peter Rosengard of the London Project Foundation explains the purpose of the project and the reaction to the artwork.
The fate of this monumental and important sculpture is still up in the air.
“I very much hope that the 9/11 London Project Foundation and the City of London are able to find an appropriate home for the sculpture,” noted Ando, saying that, “I think ideally the sculpture will be in a permanent site as it was created in the name of peace.”
As commemorations of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2011 fade into memory, we turn to many sources of healing: family, music, religion, poetry, meditation, discourse, and theater can all serve as reservoirs of strength.
Art has always been an outlet for healing when tragedy occurs. Many galleries, exhibits and art-related events will continue to serve as focal points of comprehension and coping for the remainder of the year. Join “the bare square” as we share some of the ways 9/11 is being remembered through art.
Artist Todd Stonecreated series of watercolors gathered in a collection called “Witness/Downtown Rising.” Stone’s watercolors show the emotional journey the American community has taken through the course of recovery and rebuilding. As Stone describes, the 20 watercolors “depict the succession of events of the day and its aftermath.”
Todd Stone's 9/11 painting from September 2011.
Stone saw the entire event from his studio window and rooftop in Tribeca. While Stone felt he should race down and give a hand to the rescue workers, his wife encouraged him to focus on his specialty and role: to bear witness. He started to paint as the events unfolded.
The chronological paintings record the view of the collapse from street-level–the huge clouds of black smoke and scattered debris, the destruction of the buildings and human life. Eventually, the New York Foundation for the Arts sponsored his work and gave him unique access to the construction site.
An exhibit of the watercolors concludes Monday, Sep. 12, 2011 at a temporary studio on the 48th Floor of 7 World Trade Center.
Like Stone, New York artist EJay Weiss also witnessed the tragedy from his Tribeca studio and has a series of 12 paintings mixed with ash from the site into paint entitled “9/11 Elegies: 2001-2011.”
EJay Weiss' "9/11 Elegies: 2001-2011."
Miya Ando creates work of art with sheets of steel–including the donated pieces from the World Trade Center. Ando (mentioned on “the bare square” before) designed a sculpture incorporating steel donated by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from the World Trade Center. Ando submitted her design for a contest sponsored by the 9/11 London Project last year and was chosen as the winner.
The work features two girders supporting a third steel sheet polished to a reflective gloss. The high-gloss sheet, surprises, and may convey a message that time need not always lead to decay (a surprising result), or perhaps that peace may only be found literally after reflection.
Unveiled earlier this week in in Battersea Park in London, the three story, 9,000 pound sculpture still needs a permanent home.
As reported by “the bare square” back in March, Ando’s artwork attempts to portray a message of peace and new life, but has been the subject of some controversy.
A handful of the relatives of the more than 60 British victims of 9/11 have objected the use of the Twin Towers’ steel remnants, failing to see the message of healing and rebirth. Still others have embraced the sculpture.
Below, check out a video of artist Joe Castillo creating a very moving SandStory® piece, “Never Forget”, aperformance artwork created in front of a live audience as a tribute.
At the link, another artist on YouTube creates a piece of “speed art” for the anniversary of 9/11.
If you head to Williamsburg, Brooklyn near Kent Avenue (North 4th & North 5th Streets) you’ll see a 328 ft. long public mural, called Project Brave, created by street artist WK, who collaborated with NYC firefighters to showcase the dedication of the workers during 9/11.
California artist Michele Pred used confiscated items from airports to create an artwork inspired by the events of 9/11. She spent five months in 2002 petitioning for permission to use the confiscated items from airports as building blocks to create art installations and other works in the form of hearts, red crosses, and maps of the U.S.
Michelle Pred's "Fear Culture." (2011)
Michele Pred's "Travelers" includes confiscated scissors from airport security. (2011)
Pred began her work with the detritus confiscated by airport security, shortly after 9/11. Pred’s show, “Confiscated,” is on view at Jack Fischer Gallery at 49 Geary St #418 in San Francisco.
Sam Hollenshead's photo from "One Year at Ground Zero: From Recovery to Rebuilding." (2001)
You can experience a variety of exhibits dedicated to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at NYU, from an exhibition showcasing 70 works created by NYU faculty and staff, to photography by Joel Meyerowitz, the only photographer given unlimited access of Ground Zero. The faculty and staff exhibition embraces a wide array of perspectives and media with works ranging from black-and-white and color photographs and scholarly publications to net art, video, and other multimedia.
For more variety, visit the opening of an exhibit showcasing more than 70 works by 41 artists at MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Ave., Long Island City). Curated by Peter Elley, many of these works were completed prior to 9/11.
Because of the proximity of Ground Zero to her studio, New York painter and sculpture Sally Pettus spent some time walking the perimeter. With this experience, Pettus worked on a series of paintings entitled “Paintings From The Perimeter.” Her paintings document scenes from the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site using oil on canvas. See more of her work through the links.
Through photography, painting, sculpture, installation, video, street art, or other media, art continues to help artists and viewers respond to tragedy. Intentions and reactions can be critical or sentimental but always provide an outlet of expression.
Miya Ando, an artist we’ve been working for a while now, is heating up, both literally and figuratively.
She moved to New York after some success in California. Her art is timeless and global. And her career as an artist is taking off.
Miya realizes creations of peaceful contemplation from a seemingly chaotic, violent process of elemental transformation. Working with acid, torches, and flame, this fine artist’s sculptural pieces made from steel sheets allow space for meditation and calm reflection.
The colors are subtle, often monochromatic. The layers are almost nonexistent. The effect enchants.
A Miya Ando original
This year is already a big year for Miya.
The 9/11 London Project Foundation commissioned Miya to design a sculpture in memory of the victims who lost their lives during the terror attacks of 2001.
A decade after the felling of the World Trade Center towers, Miya’s sculpture, made of steel girders donated by the city of New York from the wreckage of the Twin Towers, will stand eight meters high. Look for the unveiling in Potters Fields Park, at the very heart of London, on the southern side of the Thames in September.
“It’s an incredible honor,” said Miya.
Expect to hear about more of Miya’s work, and hear about it first at The Bare Square.
- James Wallace
Artist's rendition of Miya Ando's 9/11 commission in London scheduled to be unveiled in September.