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May 23, 2012

Memorial Art Gallery commissions Albert Paley sculpture

Albert Paley
Albert Paley

The Memorial Art Gallery has commissioned a 25-foot stainless steel sculpture by internationally known artist Albert Paley as one of the anchor installations of its planned Centennial Sculpture Park. The new work, titled Soliloquy, will be installed next year at the gallery’s Goodman Street entrance as the gallery counts down to its 100th anniversary.

Soliloquy is the gift of the Cameros Family and Ann Mowris Mulligan, with additional support from Robert and Joanne Gianniny, the Herdle-Moore Fund, the Rubens Family Foundation, and Nancy Turner.

Paley joins three other celebrated artists commissioned to create site-specific works for the park—Wendell Castle, Jackie Ferrara, and Tom Otterness. “The Paley commission completes our vision of four new works by internationally acclaimed artists for the Centennial Sculpture Park,” says Director Grant Holcomb. “Best of all, two of the four are Rochester’s.”

In addition to the four new works, Centennial Sculpture Park will showcase sculptures from the gallery’s collection by prominent artists such as Deborah Butterfield, George Rickey, and Tony Smith.

A graduate of Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where he received his BFA and MFA, Paley began his career as a goldsmith, the maker of jewelry that might be described as futuristically art nouveau. A decade later, working in forged and fabricated steel, he came to national prominence with a set of portal gates for the Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Today, Paley’s work can be found in the permanent collections of such museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; and the Memorial Art Gallery.

Commissioned by both public institutions and private corporations, he has completed more than 60 site-specific works. Most recently, he has completed a sculptural relief for Wellington Place, Toronto; a pair of entrance sculptures for the Columbia, Mo., Public Library; Threshold, an entryway sculpture for the headquarters of Klein Steel in Rochester; the 120-foot long entryway sculpture for the St. Louis Zoo; and RIT’s The Sentinel.

The recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Rochester, SUNY Brockport, and St. Lawrence University, Paley holds an endowed chair at RIT. In 1995 he became the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute for Architects, the AIA’s highest award to a non-architect.

In 2010, he was the subject of Albert Paley in the 21st Century, a major retrospective organized by the Memorial Art Gallery.

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