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Newton (After William Blake) by Eduardo Paolozzi at the British Library

Newton After Blake

Located outside the incredible British Library in London is the impressive sculpture titled ‘Newton’ After William Blake, crafted by Eduardo Paolozzi.

Eduardo Paolozzi
Eduardo Paolozzi Courtesy BBC Radio

Paolozzi was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, to Italian immigrants on March 7, 1924. Growing up, Paolozzi’s father was an admirer of Benito Mussolini and sent his son to youth camps in Italy for several years.

When Italy declared war on the United Kingdom in June 1940, young Eduardo, his father, and grandfather were all imprisoned under the Emergency Powers Act. Eduardo spent three months in Saughton Prison. His father and grandfather were put aboard the Arandora Star and were to be transported to Canada for detention.

The Arandora Star was constructed in 1925 and had served as a cruise ship based out of Southampton before being pressed into military duty. In June 1940, she left Liverpool with a passenger list including 174 officers and men, 200 military guards, 734 interned Italian men, 479 interned German men, and 86 German prisoners of war, destined for Newfoundland.

Early on the morning of July 2, she was struck by a torpedo launched by a German submarine, U-47. Eight hundred and five passengers lost their lives in the attack, the majority drowning. Among the dead were young Eduardo’s father and grandfather.

Upon his release, Eduardo attended classes at Edinburgh College of Art before being drafted in 1943. He spent more than a year in the Pioneer Corps before being released from service. He then began attending the Slade School.

Here the young artist was developing his talents and style. In 1947 he was given his first solo exhibition at the Mayor Gallery, where all his work sold. He was to then spend time in Paris before returning to London. In Paris he had come to learn of Dada and Surrealism and began to experiment with collage.

During the 1950s, Paolozzi began to produce architecturally based works. He also began to experiment with printmaking. His interest in collage continued however and as Frank Whitford wrote for the Guardian, “Everything he created began as an accumulation of unrelated images culled from a wide variety of sources which, when rearranged, achieved a new and surprising unity.”

In the 1960s his sculpture began to further incorporate his interest in collage. As Whitford writes of Paolozzi, “…regularly visited the dry docks, collecting discarded components from the wrecking yards. He used these, together with standard engineering parts ordered from catalogues, to create sculptures which simultaneously suggested curios machines and totems from some lost but technologically advanced culture.”

After a period of creative doldrums, Paolozzi moved to West Berlin in 1974. In Berlin he regained his creative energies producing abstract prints. He would later serve as a professor at the Colgone Fachhochschule and later served at the Munich Academy.

With his creativity at a high level. Paolozzi was awarded multiple public commissions in both Germany and Britain. During the long construction of the British Library, architect Sir Colin St. John Wilson commissioned Paolozzi to produce a sculpture to grace the piazza outside the library. The result: ‘Newton’ After William Blake.

William Blake's Newton
William Blake’s painting of Newton, an inspiration for Paolozzi’s sculpture. Courtesy Tate Britain

The British Library describes Blake’s painting, “Blake’s original watercolor shows Newton surrounded by the glories of nature but oblivious to it all. Instead, he is focused on reducing the complexity of the universe to mathematical dimensions, bending forward with his compass.”

Installed in 1995, the sculpture is a bronze measuring twelve feet tall. Casting of this work was done by the Morris Singer Foundry. Singer was established in 1848 and has cast many well-known sculptures, including the Trafalgar Square Lions.

 

 

Newton After Blake
Newton After Blake located outside the British Library
Newton After Blake
Newton After Blake from the side
Sir Colin St. John Wilson
Sir Colin St. John Wilson
Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts

In discussing his work, Paolozzi said, “While Blake may have been satirizing Newton, I see this work as an exciting union of two British geniuses. Together, they present to us nature and science, poetry, art, architecture-all welded, interconnected, interdependent.”

 

This interconnection between is shown in the physical sculpture itself. The body of Newton is shown in a seemingly mechanical way. Newton is held together with bolts in the major joints.

To hear more about this sculpture from the architect Sir Colin St. John Wilson click here. This interview excerpt is about two minutes long.

A model of the sculpture was given to the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences. A bronze cast of Newton is in the collection of the Tate Gallery. A similar sculpture is held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

As he grew older, Paolozzi began to consider his legacy. He undertook a philanthropic role, donating prints to museums in Britain and other countries. His largest donation was to the National Galleries of Scotland which houses a studio with his name.

Paolozzi suffered a stroke in 2001 and passed away in April 2005.

You may examine the life of artist Eduardo Paolozzi in more detail in this work by art historian Judith Collins. Eduardo Paolozzi  chronicles the development of European art from the 1950s through the late 1990s. At over 300 pages and heavily illustrated this is a must for anyone interested in learning about this amazing artist.

 

 

 

To learn more about the architect of the British Library, Sir Colin St. John Wilson, I recommend the book Buildings & Projects, written by Roger Stonehouse. Wilson himself penned several titles which can be seen here.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

 

Sources

British Library. Isaac Newton Sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi.                                                                                            https://www.bl.uk/about-us/our-story/explore-the-building/isaac-newton-sculpture

Guggenheim Museum. Eduardo Paolozzi.                                                                          https://www,guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/eduardo-paolozzi

Whitford, Frank. Sir Eduardo Paolozzi obituary.                                                   htps://www.theguardian.com/culture/2005/apr/22/obituaries

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Public Art Shark Sculptures in Downtown New Smyrna Beach Florida

Cathy Berse painted shark

Many years ago, New Smyrna Beach was known by the moniker WSBB, or
World’s Safest Bathing Beach. Even today, there is an AM radio station using
these call letters.

Over time, the marketing slogan has gone by the wayside, replaced by something a
bit more ominous sounding, the Shark Bite Capital of the World. It is ominous
sounding but the odds of receiving a shark bite are miniscule at best. As WESH
reported, in 2021 there were sixteen shark bites in waters at Volusia County. These
tie for the second highest number of bites in the last twenty years. In fact, the
International Shark Attack File reports only 137 bites throughout the world in
2021.  Despite being the intruder, you are safe in the ocean.

Atlantic Blacktip Shark
An example of the Atlantic Blacktip Shark

Experts reply that this locally high number is not due to an increase in shark population but rather an increase in the number of humans visiting beaches. Typically, these bites are from blacktip sharks, a species known to frequent the shallow waters where they may be feeding on baitfish or perhaps giving birth. The majority of bites occurred near Ponce Inlet, an area known to have a large quantity of baitfish. This area is also popular with surfers so man/nature interaction is to be expected.

Despite some locals not wanting to continue the seemingly negative image, a group of high school students, along with City of New Smyrna Beach elected officials have created a new public art initiative featuring whimsical version of these often feared predators.

In May 2019, the Youth Council Task Force presented the idea to the city
commission of painted sharks, along the lines of what other communities have
done. Logistical issues, including design and cost of the sharks, where they would
be placed—public lands or at private businesses, and later COVID-19 delayed, but
could not stop, this initiative.

With the assistance of Rick Hardy, a taxidermist at Unique Species, Inc., the
project moved forward. Hardy crafted five shark sculptures, each seven feet long,
two feet tall, and one foot wide. The Youth Council selected local artists to give
these sculptures their own painted interpretation. These individual works of art
were then installed at city owned facilities throughout town.

Cathy Berse
City Marina 201 N. Riverside Drive

Cathy Berse is well known in local art circles, having lived in the area for more
than thirty years. Her goal is to show that New Smyrna Beach is about more than
being the shark bite capital of the world. Her work is an attempt to bridge the
mainland and beachside, with one side of her shark representing each.

Cathy Berse painted shark
Cathy Berse’s shark at City Marina
Cathy Berse Painted Shark
Cathy Berse painted shark at City Marina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eliza Midgett
Brannon Center 105 S. Riverside Drive

Ms. Midgett states that color is a part of who she is. Her shark inspiration came
from growing up at the beach. A News-Journal article quoted her, “Images of sand
dunes and the paths through them etched indelibly into my memory.” Her
contribution “Sam the Shark,” features bright colors and nods to New Smyrna
Beach such as a crab, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, and condominiums.

Eliza Midgett shark at the Brannon Center
Eliza Midgett painted shark at the Brannon Center.
Eliza Midgett painted shark
Eliza Midgett painted shark at the Brannon Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shyriaka Morris
Live Oak Cultural Center 1050 Live Oak Street

Shy, as she is often called, is a fourth generation New Smyrna Beach resident. She
and her daughter worked on the design together. “We decided to paint happy kids
enjoying time at New Smyrna Beach swimming on their floats in the ocean. We
also included a landscape so viewers would know it’s the beach and not a pool.”
Morris is glad to see public art projects like this and hopes the city continues
offering artists these type opportunities.

Shy Morris painted shark
Shy Morris painted shark at the Live Oak Cultural Center.
Shy Morris painted shark
Shy Morris painted shark at the Live Oak Cultural Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randal Preston
Alonzo “Babe” James Community Center 201 N. Myrtle Avenue

Ms. Preston, who is a teacher at Indian River Elementary School, named her shark
“Ponce.” The inspiration for her shark came from “all aspects of my life,”
including her family and teaching experiences. According to Ms. Preston, art “can
influence, entertain, and educate your audience, and most of the time without even
using any words.”

Randal Preston painted shark
Randal Preston painted shark at the Alonzo “Babe” James Community Center.
Randal Preston painted shark
Randal Preston painted shark at the Alonzo “Babe” James Community Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margo Wenzel
Development Services Building 214 Sams Avenue

While many consider the food scene in New Smyrna Beach to be a highlight, Ms.
Wenzel uses music as her theme. “I was inspired by NSB’s offerings of music for
my shark theme. There is live music in town at the farmer’s market, Old Fort Park,
Riverside Park, the various street fair events, countless bars and restaurants, and
The HUB on Canal.”

Margo Wenzel painted shark
Margo Wenzel painted shark at the Development Services Building.
Margo Wenzel painted shark
Margo Wenzel painted shark at the Development Services Building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Want to learn about sharks? Read the new book Why Sharks Matter: A Deep Dive with the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator. 

 

Have a child in your life interested in the predators of the deep?                                                                  Take a look at the Ultimate Book of Sharks from National Geographic Kids.


 

Sources:
Daytona Beach News Journal. January 19, 2022.
Hometown News. January 14, 2022.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a
purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect
any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are
never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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New Smyrna Beach Mural Ordinance to be Considered

The City of New Smyrna Beach, a self proclaimed art town, is currently reviewing an ordinance that would provide regulation on current and future murals.

The proposed ordinance (ordinance no. 13-22, first reading on April 26, 2022) creates a definition for murals, non-residential primary structures, and residential primary structures. The intent of the ordinance is that art or graphics “be permitted within certain non-residential zoning districts of the City to aesthetically enhance otherwise blank walls and building side and rear wall.”

A mural off Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach by artist Beth O’Connor that could be impacted by a proposed new ordinance.

Those seeking to have a mural placed on their building will now file for a permit, with the appropriate $50 application fee of course, with the city Department of Development Services. The city has created a listing of requirements, including size limits for art based upon wall size.  Advertising and written messages are not permitted. Current murals will be granted a five year window to be in compliance with new guidelines (if passed).

While I agree that there does need to be a set of approved guidelines for murals and public art, it appears that city staff did not include the art or business community  when drawing up the proposed ordinance. From my research it appears they have only reviewed guidelines from other local governments. Who those local governments are is not stated in agenda packet.

If staff and the city Planning and Zoning Board had worked with interested local parties they would have found out that many of the murals currently in place, and enjoyed by thousands of visitors and residents, do not meet the proposed guidelines. As Jane’s Art Center has posted on Facebook , this ordinance may impact current art. It appears no exceptions have been made for artist signatures. Is that considered a written message and thus not allowed? The beloved shark mural on the side of the HUB on Canal will need to undergo extensive work to be in compliance if the proposed ordinance passes.

Ordinance 13-22 had been on the agenda for the May 10, 2022 city commission meeting but was pulled. Public comments appear to have been allowed however.

For art in public places enthusiasts this is an issue that we need to keep our eyes on. Not living in New Smyrna Beach I don’t have a feel for what individual commissioners may be thinking on this. Common sense regulation will help keep murals that are negative or detrimental to the city image from being created. Regulation will also mandate that murals be maintained and allow for code violations should they fall into disrepair. It does however become a fine line between property rights, free speech, and what may be best for the larger community. Bringing stakeholders to the table will help create the best ordinance possible and will provide for reasonable grandfathering in of existing murals.

Please click the link below to read the current ordinance as posted on the April 26, 2022 City of New Smyrna Beach city commission meeting agenda.

New Smyrna Beach Mural Ordinance

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Young Dancer Sculpture by Enzo Plazzotta in London

One of the joys of London is just walking around with open eyes. There is so much to see. It may be the Blue Plaques on buildings, it may be a small marker on a structure, or maybe you will find a war memorial that most just walk by. Or perhaps like we recently did, you will come across a unique piece of art.

Enzo Plazzotta
Image courtesy Chris Beetle Gallery

We had visited London several years ago and stumbled by Bow Wow London, a unique pet store that allowed us the chance to shop for our dogs. The owners were so nice to us we knew we had to make a return visit on our next trip to the city. After stopping in and purchasing a truly unique collar for our dog, we were walking around in Covent Garden when we crossed paths with an incredible sculpture; Young Dancer, created by the Italian artist Enzo Plazzotto.

Enzo Plazzotto was born in Mestre, Italy on May 29, 1921. Plazzotto studied sculpture

Giacomo Manzu
Image courtesy https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41319874

and architecture at the Accademia di Brera in Milan, under the guidance of Giacomo Manzu.

Unfortunately, World War II interrupted Plazzotto’s studies. During the war, he became a Partisan leader near Lago Maggiore. Once hostilities ended, Enzo returned to school where he was to receive a commission from the Italian Committee of Liberation. After he presented his work to the recipient in London, he took up residence in the city.

While portrait sculpture paid the bills, Plazzotto was more interested in movement; a theme he was able to highlight in subjects such as horses and dancers. The Chris Beetles Gallery describes Plazzotto’s work, “Through his studies and adaptations of mythology and classical Christian themes he was able to convey great power and emotion encompassing the frequent vain striving of mankind.”

Plazzotto was to live only sixty years, passing away on October 12, 1981. Six and a half years after his death, the Westminster City Council and the Plazzotta estate unveiled Young Dancer on May 16, 1988. The beautiful bronze sculpture shows a young, female dancer, seated on a stool. Her right leg bent slightly at the knee, points to the ground with her toe just touching. Her left leg is across the right with her hands resting on it. The dancer has a calm look and appears to be resting. If you, or a member of your family study ballet or other forms of dance, this sculpture will make you smile. 

Young Dancer, a bronze sculpture in Westminster London

Behind the Young Dancer is a row of iconic red telephone booths bringing you back to the reality that you are in a large city.

Young Dancer is located on Broad Street just off of Bow Street, opposite the Royal Opera House in the Covent Garden district.

Young Dancer with Iconic Phone Booths in Background

 

The Estate and Copyright of Enzo Plazzotta is exclusively owned by the Chris Beetles Gallery. For sales and enquires please contact the Gallery.

 

 

If you are in London be sure to keep your eyes open for the many blue plaques that adorn buildings denoting a famous person had something to do with the building. Take a look at my blog post that reviews a book highlighting more than 400 blue plaques.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Identifying plaque on Young Dancer sculpture

To learn more about the incredible art of Enzo Plazzotta, I recommend his catalogue raisonne, a work of nearly 200 pages that will make you an expert on the artist.