News

    Crushed Cars as Art

    Peter Fedynsky

    New York's Guggenheim Museum has turned into something of a junkyard featuring sculptures made of automobile parts by the late American artist John Chamberlain. The artist was known as a rebel who transformed cars into vehicles that transport the imagination.

    A sculpture at the entrance to the museum is made of old car bumpers.  Inside are dozens of other automobile abstractions by sculptor John Chamberlain. He passed away in December at the age of 84.  

    While the Guggenheim is not a parking garage, dozens of cars have been parked, so to speak, on each level of its spiraling space.  Chamberlain reshaped the cars in a way that's consistent with the exhibit's name, Choices.  Curator Susan Davidson explains that Chamberlain assembled materials to create three dimensional collages.

    "He is able to choose the positioning of the colors, the fit of the shapes that he brings together, the sound that the metal makes when he assembles it," said Davidson.

    She says Chamberlain used common materials in an uncommon way.  He sculpted these objects, which look like beanbags, from urethane foam.

    This abstraction is made of plastic.  Aluminum foil is the material for the towering sculpture in the Guggenheim foyer.  But his primary resource was old cars.  

    Museum Director Richard Armstrong says Chamberlain's work is unique.

    "[Chamberlain's work embodies] a free spirit that helps define and redefine mid-20th century art," said Armstrong.

    Susan Davidson says Chamberlain had the spirit of an American rebel much like Rock and Roll legend Elvis Presley.

    Chamberlain's works are positioned away from the walls so viewers can see them from all sides.  Freelance writer Deborah Bearg says the sculptures offer the imagination an infinity of images.

    "Everytime you're looking, you're going to see something else," Bearg explained.  "I'm sure if I walk back through this part of it today, I'll see very different images."

    The exhibit is drawing visitors from New York and far away.

    Waynette Ballengee from Louisiana says the show initially struck her as junk.

    "But as I traveled up the rotunda, it started to make more sense to me," said Ballengee.  "And I thought that it became more interesting, as he changed the way that he worked with the material."

    Declan Kennedy, from Ireland, says he was impressed with the building, not the exhibit.

    "I think it just looks like a lot of scrunched up metal.  So it doesn't appeal to me," said Kennedy.

    Susan Davidson says Chamberlain told her that the secret to artistic success is insanity. He added that art and criminality draw inspiration from the individual's own peculiarities.  He preferred art.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora