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Frank Stella at The National Gallery, Washington DC

Frank Stella and Dick Polich have a unique relationship which led to many years of innovative, experimental, and exciting methods of making metal arts. Franks Stella began making art in the late 1950s with his recognizable minimalist Black Paintings. He spent many years working alongside Kenneth Tyler making abstract prints using lithography, etching, and screenprinting methods. The relationship between Polich and Stella began through an introduction made by Tyler. The foundry and graphics company were located in neighboring towns of the Hudson Valley, and it seemed only natural that the talented craftspeople and artists working at both facilities would come together. Stella transitioned from prints to sculpture in the 1980′s and began making large-scale metal works primarily in aluminum and steel. Throughout 2001 and 2002, Stella’s sculpture Prinz Friedrich von Homburg, Ein Schauspiel, 3X (1998-2001) was installed outdoors in front of the east wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The sculpture was made of stainless steel, aluminum, painted fiberglass, and carbon fiber, weighed over 20,000 lbs and towered 31 feet in the air. The sculpture was fabricated at Polich Tallix foundry in Rock Tavern where Frank Stella is still making art today. 

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Below are a few other photos from our archive of Frank Stella working on one of his monoliths alongside the fabricators at Tallix Beacon.

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Our Craftspeople: Mike List

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Mike List is Fabrication and Maintenance Manager of Polich Tallix. He currently oversees 20 employees, supervising and executing multiple projects concurrently. He works closely with our veteran craftspeople, new employees, structural engineers, artists, and the Polich Tallix sales team to construct large scale, often site specific, artworks.

Mike has worked for Dick at both Tallix Foundry, and Polich Tallix, formerly Polich Art Works, for 23 years. Mike found the artwork interesting and varied, and he began  at Tallix as an apprentice fabricator to further enhance his skill set. When Dick moved across the river to open Polich Art Works, he brought Mike along with him as the new Fabrication Manager to oversee and build Frank Stella’s new sculpture for Pohang, South Korea.

Over the years Mike has helped build some of the most complicated, contemporary, and resounding public artworks of the past quarter century. Though he finds it difficult to ‘pick favorites,’  Mike has many fond memories of Claes Oldenberg’s Torn Notebooka 20 ft tall stainless steel and aluminum sculpture installed in Madden Garden at the University of Nebraska, The Korean War Veteran’s Memorial  located in Washington, D.C.’s West Potomac Park, and most recently, Mia Pearlman’s stainless steel sculpture Uplift installed at Liberty Mutual’s Headquarters in Boston.Mike w stella

Pictured above at the far left is Dick Polich with Mike List to his left and some of the foundry staff posing in front of a Frank Stella sculpture outside of Tallix Beacon; the artist is seated in the center.  Stella’s sculpture for South Korea was fabricated in 1997. Below are some of Mike’s photos taken during the installation.

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Below, Mike stands with artist Mia Pearlman during the outdoor installation of her new work Uplift. The sculpture, pictured on the right, was water-jet cut from sheets of stainless steel, rolled, bent, and polished.

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Ursula von Rydingsvard’s ‘Ona,’ From Cedar to Bronze: A Collaborative Journey

uvr Bowl StackedUrsula von Rydingsvard rolled up her sleeves throughout the month of August at Polich Tallix to put the finishing touches on her most recent sculpture and largest cast bronze work to date. Ona, Polish for ‘She,’ has received an overwhelming positive amount of media attention. Standing 19 1/2 feet tall, ‘She’ towers over Brooklynites and subway goers at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues and greets sports fans and music lovers entering The Barclays Center in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Commissioned by chief operating officer of the arena’s real estate developer David Berliner, the Brooklyn based artist was hand picked to create the sculpture to be dedicated during the commemoration ceremony celebrating the The Barclays Center’s first year.

Von Rydingsvard, a native of Germany and of Polish and Ukrainian descent, has spent the past 30 years making art in her Brooklyn studio. First in Williamsburg and now Bushwick, she works amidst her elegant and carefully stacked wooden sculptures comprised of thousands of pieces of raw cut red cedar. Chopped and carved by her team of assistants using circular saws and chisels, each bit of wood starts out as a 4×4 on which the artist sketches in pencil where the piece is to be cut. Though this soft and easily manipulated material is preferred by the artist, bronze seemed to be the logical alternative when planning a permanent installation. A  full size cedar pattern of Ona was carved and assembled in the artist’s Bushwick space. This process became a real collaboration between the artist’s studio and the foundry. Prior to the pattern’s assembly and arrival, von Rydingsvard invited Andrew Pharmer, Project Manager, and Paul McMahill, Head Foundryman to visit the studio, observe the process, and advise her towards a successful division of the pattern in to over 50 smaller sized sections suitable for molding.

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Ona was translated from cedar into bronze using a 50/50 split of lost-wax casting and sand casting. Determined by the degree of surface draft, certain sections were deemed suitable for sand molding, while other sections with more complex curves and undercuts were coated with a release agent and  molded with polysulfide rubber. Each wax pulled from the rubber molds was imprinted with sand to mimic the texture of the sandcast bronze.

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The fabrication team at the foundry began assembling the 100+ cast parts from the bottom or base of the sculpture, upwards. Each casting was welded from the inside of  the sculpture, echoing the sort of mysterious, stacked effect unique to her cedar bowls. The sculpture was assembled in two sections: the top half and bottom half. The artist spent months developing a patina that felt less like wood, more like metal, and not quite stone. The two halves were  welded together only the night before the sculpture was scheduled to make the journey to Brooklyn. The 12,000 lb bronze sculpture was transported horizontally on a flatbed truck and installed by Patrick Alan Transport for Polich Tallix in the middle of the night on August 29, 2013. The artist/staff relationship and sense of teamwork which grew throughout Ona‘s fabrication will hopefully be a sign of a long and successful partnership, with more great work to come.

‘Ona’ from Polich Tallix on Vimeo.

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Install Photo Credit: Christopher Roque

‘Uplift’ Lands in Boston’s Back Bay

Mia Pearlman is a young, intelligent, and inspiring artist from Brooklyn New York who has spent the better part of this past year at the foundry, rolling up her sleeves along side Polich Tallix Lead Fabricator Mike List during the construction and assembly of ‘Uplift,’ a large scale indoor/outdoor installation for Liberty Mutual’s new headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Pearlman’s well thought out design metaphorically bridges together the newly raised building’s flatiron-style interior rotunda with the surrounding streetscape outside.

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The sculpture is composed of 8 interior hanging water jet cut 1/4″ aluminum elements, and 10  exterior water jet cut 3/8″ stainless steel elements mounted to a concrete slab. First envisioned by the artist in a fully developed maquette version, our digital media technicians scaled up each object, designed cut files, and water jet cut stock material to identically match the artist’s model. Each element of the final artwork ranges from 10 feet to 20 feet in length. Once the stock metal was cut, each piece underwent a unique journey through our plate bending roller in order to mimic the model’s subtle curves. Polich Tallix engineered, fabricated, and installed all of the sculpture’s elements inside our facility’s south bay prior to its installation in Boston. Pearlman and Polich Tallix had the pleasure of working closely with Kris Collins of MGAC who helped plan and organize the commission, general contractor, engineers and various other involved vendors.

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‘Uplift’ is a landmark project for both the artist and Polich Tallix. Pearlman is known for her hand made site specific works in cut paper. She creates surreal environments of layered, delicately cut paper with edges accented in India Ink. Inspired by the recognizable forms of clouds, water, fire, and flowers, Pearlman’s new work invites the audience outdoors to interact with the piece intimately and beyond the bounds of the structural barrier, through concrete and glass, and in to the building. The sculpture’s true magic lies within its ability to become a completely different piece outdoors, and from second floor of the atrium where visitors are able to view the hanging elements at eye level. Further enhancing this transformation with light, both natural and artificial, each silvery figure is soft and subtle on an overcast day, spectacular and alive with shadows in the movement of the sun, and monumental in the evening.   ‘Uplift’ is the first work of Pearlman’s in metal, and Polich Tallix’s largest strictly fabricated public work to date.

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Nancy Graves at Tallix Peekskill

Often considered one of the most influential female artists of the 20th century, Nancy Graves’ experimental attitude towards materials, processes and color continues to inspire and influence emerging artists today. Graves studied at Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture and is known for her paintings, prints, and extraordinary sculpture.  She was the first woman to receive a solo retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1969 where she exhibited the body of work she may be best know for, her Bactrian Camels, sculpted and constructed of burlap, wax, fiberglass and a multitude of other materials. Later, her cast bronze sculptural works moved toward whimsical abstractions of man made and found objects. Her bright and colorful exploratory patina applications helped diversify traditionally accepted bronze finishes.  Nancy Graves working on Taxidermy Form, (1979) in 1979 in Patina at the Tallix BeaconGraves began working in cast materials with the guidance of Dick Polich at Tallix Peekskill in the mid 70′s. Her first cast sculpture entitled Ceridwen, Out of Fossils, is pictured below. The title “Ceridwen” refers to the Welsh Goddess of death and immortality. “Out of Fossils” refers to the earlier sculpture “Fossils” from which it was cast. This was to be the first of three casts, this first (and only) cast was a commission from Peter Ludwig. The piece is now in the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, and will be featured in the Nancy Graves Project retrospective opening this October at the Ludwig Forum in Aachen. Nancy Graves working on her sculpture 'Ceridwen, Out of Fossils'Pictured below, Nancy Graves and Toni Putnam work on Taxidermy Form, (1979) applying the white, brown and green patina at the Tallix Foundry. An earlier sculpture, Taxidermy Form, (1970), was used as a mold for this piece. The original piece was destroyed in the process, and Graves modified the waxes before casting them in bronze. The sculpture is currently in the collection of The University of Texas Modern Art Gallery in Denton, Texas.Graves with Toni Putnam

Graves with Toni Putnam Patina

Ductile Iron: A New Era in Contemporary Sculpture

The story of cast iron dates back thousands of years to Ancient China, where the earliest artifacts were found buried deep in a tomb in Luhe County, Jiangsu dated to the 5th century. By the 3rd century, cast iron was widely used for agricultural purposes and as a useful and inexpensive way to produce tools of warfare. Today, everywhere we look there is resounding evidence of the use of  iron as an architectural and industrial material. It became apparent very early on that the brittle qualities and low tensile strength of cast iron made it unsuitable for several structural purposes and though it has been replaced by steel in many forms, it is still used today in applications such as cookware, ornamental, architecture, and art.

Just ‘born’ cast iron surfaces are a silvery blue-gray. The surface of the alloy oxidizes when exposed to water, salt, acid, and other outside elements, and eventually flakes off of the structure to reveal a fresh surface. Iron casting has a much different history from the casting of bronze and other precious metals as a fine art medium. For many artists interested in casting  iron, its industrial heritage is what often draws them to the material.

Today we are entering in to a contemporary, new age of cast iron sculpture through the introduction of ductile iron. In 1949 Keith Dwight Millis, a metallurgist working to develop an alternative to chromium during the Second World War, stumbled across a nodular form of the alloy. When magnesium is added to molten iron, the graphite structure converts from plate-like formations similar to shale, into spherical elements. Consequently, the new form of cast iron has a high tensile strength, becomes malleable, and displays the ability to undergo changes without cracking or breaking.DSC_8344 (Large)

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With the help of an outside consultant, Polich Tallix successfully poured  and cast a ductile iron element to be part of Matthew Barney’s new sculpture.

Ductile Iron Pour from Polich Tallix on Vimeo.

Polich Tallix Welcomes the Newest Freshman Class

As our operation continues to expand, we welcome more new faces to our ever-growing team of talented artisans and craftspeople. We would like to introduce the newest members of the Polich Tallix family.

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Left: Ashley Snively (wax rework)   Right: Garett Grassi (finishing)

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Left: Jeff Crawford (finishing & fabrication)   Right: Tim Peters Jr. (ceramic shell)

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Left: Gabrielle Bastion (wax rework)   Right: Tyrell Skeens (wax rework)

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Left: Charlie Engleman (fabrication)   Right: Ivan Palmer (fabrication)

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Left: Ian George (finishing)   Right: Kim Markel (project development)

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Left: Kenny Macareno (divest)   Right: Mike Koller (digital media & sales)

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Left: Dennis Klubnick (fabrication)   Right: Susana Garcia (mold)

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Left: Jorge Villeda (maintenance)   Right: Eduardo Guzman (divest & maintenance)

Zhang Xiaogang’s New Sculpture at Pace Gallery

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A dominant member of the Chinese avant-garde movement, top selling contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang presented a new body of work at Pace Gallery in New York. Primarily celebrated for his surrealist portrait paintings, Xiaogang unveiled his first complete body of sculptural work in the medium of bronze.

Born in Kunming, China in 1958, Xiaogang’s life and work is profoundly influenced by the country’s Cultural Revolution and its political upheaval. His paintings and sculpture explore concepts of family, collective culture, individual identity, and universal connections. The 1995 series of paintings entitled Bloodline: Big Family made an enormous impression on the East Asian art market.  His sculptural work is an unmistakable continuation of  the Bloodline paintings.

Ranging from 6 inches to over five feet in height, each sculpture began as a plaster bust, sculpted by the artist. Polich Tallix made silicone rubber molds of each plaster original and cast wax pieces from those molds. The wax pieces were reworked, gated, and invested in ceramic shell material. After a three week long period of building the ceramic shells to the right thicknesses,  they were placed in an autoclave to melt out the wax and leave a negative space to pour in 2,000 degree molten bronze. Each bronze casting was chased, finished, and primed for the artist to paint.

The surfaces of the finished works vary from heavily pigmented areas to light washes with very loose, visible and textural brushstrokes. Xiaogang’s stylized and varying applications of paint beautifully disguises the bronze, forcing the viewers to really question each sculpture, the material, and intent of the artist. The sculptures, along with four paintings, are on view at Pace Gallery in Chelsea until April 27th, 2013. Polich Tallix is incredibly proud to have collaborated with Zhang Xiaogang and Pace Gallery to put forth this exceptional group of sculptures.

All Artwork: © Zhang Xiaogang / Courtesy Pace Gallery

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All Artwork: © Zhang Xiaogang / Courtesy Pace Gallery

Polich Art Works Casts the Bronze Torosaurus for The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

A select group of sculptures stand out in our collective memory as great successes over the last 40 years. The craftspeople who have worked with the foundry in the past and present often use such projects to refer to a certain time, atmosphere, and dynamic of the foundry. The Torosaurus standing  guard the entrance of the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut  is the quintessential example of such a sculpture.

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The 11- inch version of the dinosaur, sculpted by the artist Michael Anderson, was modeled after the horned dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous Period over 65 million years ago. Two unidentified skulls from this dinosaur were sent to Yale in 1891  after being excavated from a site in Wyoming. Yale professor O.C. Marsh became the first to identify the species. This discovery has become a  significant landmark in the museum’s history. The maquette was enlarged with a pointing machine into polyurethane foam blocks to build the full-size prototype. Throughout a period of 5 months, Michael Anderson supervised a team of volunteers, artists, and paleontologists as a thin layer of clay was applied over the surface of the foam to recreate realistic textures of the skin. A 3,000 lb,  54-piece polysulfide rubber mold was made over the final model. Waxes were cast, gated, and bronzes were poured using a combination of lost wax and sand casting methods. Successfully marrying together cast metal from the separate processes which produce different rates of shrinkage was a notable achievement for the foundry. The 21-foot, 7,350 lb. sculpture sits atop a 70 ton granite base outside of the museum.

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Roy Lichtenstein at Tallix Beacon

The Vedova Foundation in Venice Italy will be showcasing works by the artist Roy Lichtenstein next spring. A research assistant for the curator recently contacted the foundry for some images to add to their catalog. We dug up some pretty incredible photos of the artist working at Tallix Beacon alongside senior fabricator Peter Versteeg. Lichtenstein was a leading figure in the pop art movement alongside Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and a dear friend to our foundry.

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Roy Lichtenstein with senior fabricator Peter Versteeg

Roy Lichtenstein with senior fabricator Peter Versteeg

Eric Fischl, A Visionary Sculptor

For the past four decades, Eric Fischl has been making art in various mediums, and making headlines. Recognized as one of the most influential figurative artists throughout the time span of his career, his works can be seen and found in museums, galleries, and publications all over the world.  Born in New York City, Fischl grew up in the suburbs of Long Island during the 1960′s. He received his BFA from the California University for the Arts in 1972, lived in Chicago, taught in Nova Scotia, and landed back in New York City in 1978. He is a celebrated portrait painter who in the past 2 years had two very successful solo exhibitions in New York City at Skarstedt Gallery featuring his early paintings and Mary Boone Gallery showcasing portraits of Fischl’s famous aquantiances.  Though lately the media has been abuzz about his works on paper, there is much to be said about the artist as a sculptor. Polich Tallix has been working with Ficshl casting his bronze figures for almost 15 years.

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Recently, the foundry cast Kneeling Woman, a small bronze figure displayed recently at Miami Art Basel and Congress of Wits, a five figure group of dancers in bronze. Ten Breaths: Congress of Wits was originally conceived by the artist as a life size set. A few years ago, Polich Tallix scanned and digitally enlarged the maquette version of the piece, made molds and cast the composition at life size. Fischl painted the piece and worked with a dressmaker to design gowns for some of the dancers. The sculpture was exhibited in Germany. The artist worked with Chase Art Companies out of Chicago Illinois to cast this 2nd edition of the maquette version. The bronzes have a delicately dripped bright orange, dramatic, and very painterly patina on their surface.

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Tumbling Woman, a  bronze casting produced in 2001, made headlines when it was installed in the lower concourse of Rockefeller Center as a memorial to the victims of 9/11. Intended to remind us that the tragedy was that of human nature and affects the human condition; to remind citizens of New York to remember to mourn those lost rather than the architecture that was the World Trade Center. The sculpture very gracefully depicts a woman’s body at a moment of impact; an almost dreamlike feeling of falling.

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In 2000 Polich Art Works cast in bronze the Arthur Ashe Memorial: Soul in Flight. The larger than life Rodinesque figure commemorates and honors the record breaking tennis player and was designed and installed across from the stadium that bears the player’s name in Flushing, NY for the U.S. Open .

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We’re Going Paperless!

Last week marked an almost epic moment in office history when the very last filing cabinet was emptied and every client with a last name starting with the letter Z became a digitized sales file. This 8 month long daunting task involved scanning every last piece of paper from quote to note, that has hit the desks of our sales team during the past 15 years. 7 filing cabinets, 21 drawers, over 1,200 artists, and about 111,000 sheets of paper later, we have successfully archived these documents and put in place a digital filing system. Our efforts will save time, money, energy, space, and of course, the environment. We think that’s worthy of a blog post, don’t you?

Tom Friedman’s ‘Circle Dance’ at Brown University

Tom Freidman’s highly polished stainless steel sculpture Circle Dance, a gift from an anonymous donor, was installed at Brown University last week. Inspired by Henri Matisse’s painting La Danse, the sculpture consists of eleven life sized figures originally hand molded out of turkey roasting pans arranged in a circle and holding hands. Above is an image of the sculpture installed on campus, between Waterman and Angell streets, and below are a few assembly shots taken at the foundry.

George Condo Visits Polich Tallix

George Condo has upheld a prominent position in the contemporary art world for over thirty years. From his early years as an apprentice at Warhol factories and days of brushing shoulders with  Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Allen Ginsberg, Condo has risen in the ranks of the contemporary art world and has found his own place in  popular culture. Artificial Realism, a term coined by the artist, is a style imagined out of the marriage between observation of a long line of Old Masters’ and the practice of painting dreams, fantasies, and nightmares into creatures on canvas. His dedication and consistency, despite the current fads and fashions, has helped Condo solidify his reputation as one of the most recognizable and prominent artists living today. He holds steady in the art market, selling high and sought after by many. As a result of a mid-November auction at Christie’s, Condo’s painting entitled The Manhattan Strip Club  set the record for the highest price paid for a painting by a New York based living artist.

Aside from notable painting career, Condo has been molding and casting bronze portrayals of his imaginary people. First appearing in 2009, The Butcher and his Wife is a traditionally cast bronze patinated sculpture of two lovers caught in the act with dumbfounded grins. Upon closer inspection, the humor of these characters’ embrace lies not only in their twisted smiles, but in the action and presence of an enormous meat cleaver sticking out of the Butcher’s head. The last time we saw Condo at Polich Tallix was during the production of this sculpture. Hatchet in hand, he put the finishing touches on this sculpture himself. Last week we had the pleasure of having Mr. Condo at the foundry while he worked in patina on his most recent body of sculpture: several sets of bronze portrait heads. The finished pieces will be on view at Skarstedt Gallery  on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

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Cast bronze, traditional Tiffany Green patina,  2012

‘Huma Bhabha: Unnatural Histories’ at MoMA PS1

Pakistani born, Poughkeepsie based figurative artist Huma Bhabha opened her first solo museum show at MoMa PS1 on November 17th. After receiving her Bachelors from Rhode Island School of Design, Huma went on to receive her Master’s from Columbia University in 1989 and has been exhibiting ever since through Salon 94, The Saatchi Gallery, and Stephen Friedman Gallery. Showcasing both sculpture and drawings, ‘Unnatural Histories’ will be on view through spring 2013. Huma’s three dimensional assemblages are typically constructed from styrofoam, cork, clay, chicken wire, and scrap wood. Her unique, interpretive use of these typically discarded materials has helped build her reputation in the contemporary art world. Evoking the essence and history of sculptural techniques, Bhabha’s work often references that of the Master’s, her longtime interest in 1970′s Science Fiction as well the universal themes of war, death, cultural displacement and memory.

Her totemic painted bronzes guarding the front entrance of the museum entitled ‘God of Some Things’ and ‘Ghost of Humankindness’ were both cast at Polich Tallix. ‘Ghost of Humankindness’ stands over 8 feet in height and weighs 1100 lbs. The bronze sculpture, from a distance, appears to be constructed of stacked pieces of packing styrofoam. The strange sort of  haunting mask is meant to resemble the organic clay original. The hand molded form is highlighted by a burst of black spray paint, giving  dark expression to the otherwise simple and geometric stark white arrangement. The sculpture was cast using the traditional lost-wax method, and hand painted by one of our expert craftsmen. ’God of Some Things,’ a  patinated bronze, was cast from molds made of an original hand carved and painted piece of cork. Both sculptures feel almost more like ancient  monuments guarding the front entrance to the museum, inviting those who walk through the doors to remember, recall, and reinvent their own ideas of history with a little help of a few packing peanuts and the eyes of an artist.

Images courtesy of Salon 94 and the artist.

Da Vinci’s Horse at Tallix Beacon

When Leonardo first received his commission from the Duke of Milan in 1482, he set about designing the world’s largest equestrian sculpture. He drew many versions of II Cavallo in his notebooks, using his unparalleled grasp of animal anatomy. He invented new techniques  for casting in bronze on this huge scale. His cherished project made progress and his clay model some 24 feet tall was proudly displayed in or near the ducal courtyard in Milan. In 1499, war destroyed the Duke’s empire and Gascon bowmen destroyed Leonardo’s model, using it for target practice.

In the 1960′s, scholars first successfully collated the scattered notebooks of Leonardo and a concise body of information about II Cavallo began to emerge. In 1977, a “National Geographic”  article on the subject caught the eye and then captured the heart of retired airline pilot Charles Dent. The late Mr. Dent went on to found LdVHI (Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse Inc) in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. Several years of research and studio work in Pennsylvania brought into being an eight-foot plaster model of II Cavallo which was sent to the Tallix Art Foundry. After careful scrutiny and aware of the international importance of this project, the Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse Inc. board members decided that a new sculpture was needed, one that would more fully articulate the Renaissance artists vision. In an eerie replication of history, the plaster sculpture was destroyed and, in 1997, work commenced once again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LdVHI Board of Trustees engaged American artist Nina Akamu as lead sculptor. Together with a team of sculptors, artisans, and scholars, she sculpted an eight-foot II Cavallo in plaster that became the Master Model. The Horse has a noble head, a powerful arched neck and beautifully articulated musculature, executed in a decidedly Renaissance style. Months of careful work followed as her team enlarged the sculpture to a colossal 24-foot height in clay, which was eventually cast in bronze.

 Unveiling took place on September 10, 1999, in Milan when the bronze Horse was presented in a public ceremony as a gift to Italyfrom the American people. A second casting, the American version of the Horse was dedicated in October, 1999 in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Gardens.

 

Fernando Botero’s ‘Horse’

Colombian born figurative painter and sculptor Fernando Botero’s enormous Bronze horse leaves the foundry today. Originally cast in Italy at Mariani Foundry, the sculpture was exhibited in Spanbroek, North Holland, Netherlands at the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art. It is currently up for auction through Christie’s, estimated value at up to $1 million. This gigantic equestrian sculpture stands at just over 8 1/2 feet tall. Polich Tallix retouched the deep brown patina and gave the bronze a fresh coat of wax.


Korean War Veterans Memorial

Tallix Beacon cast 19 stainless steel figures for the Korean War Veterans Memorial, installed in Washington D.C.’s West Potomac Park in 1992. The figures were sculpted and designed by artist Frank Gaylord and each stand a little over 7 feet tall. Fourteen of the figures are from the U.S. Army, three are from the Marine Corps, one is a Navy Corpsman, and one is an Air Force Forward Air Observer.  The memorial was first assembled in the front of the old facility before it was shipped. Though many years have gone by,  residents of Beacon and the surrounding towns still recall  the haunting presence these statues possessed during their time spent  in the front yard at Tallix.

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Tom Friedman’s ‘Untitled (Looking Up)’ at Stephen Friedman Gallery

Standing at 33″ tall, Untitled (Looking Up), a  mirror polished stainless steel figure could have been easily overlooked if one were to walk through the 55,000 square feet facility filled with waxes, plaster  molds, countless tools, and sixty-something craftsmen that makes up Polich Tallix. Today, he has a much different role. Smack in the center of Tom Friedman’s solo exhibition which opened October 9th and will remain at the Stephen Friedman Gallery until the 10th of November, this spindly sparkling sculpture possess the same sort of curious existence characteristic of the artist’s style.

Tom Friedman arrived on contemporary art scene, essentially minutes after he had received his Bachelor of Fine Arts immediately followed by his first solo show  in New York City, 1991. He has successfully captivated the art world through his humorous and cunning use of everyday objects such as magazine clippings, sugar cubes, toothpicks, bubblegum, muffin tins, turkey roasting pans, and tin foil. We have worked for Tom on a number of his sculptures, most notably Circle Dance and Peeing Man, and his most recent Untitled (Looking Up)  now on view at Stephen Friedman Gallery in London. All three of these works were essentially approached in the same way as far as process is concerned. The artist manipulated the tin material by hand, at scale. Polich Tallix cast the figures in 316 stainless steel and polishes to such a high level and shine, the  surface of the cast metal is almost identical to that of the original material. Below is a tour of his current solo show, narrated by the artist himself.

 

 

Installation images copyrighted and courtesy of  Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Video copyrighted and courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery &  Sketch Films.

The American Museum of Natural History Celebrates a Naturalist’s Legacy

The American Museum of Natural History celebrated President Theodore Roosevelt’s 154th birthday on October 27th with a new exhibition showcasing artifacts, dioramas, a series of recently restored murals painted by William Andrew Mackay in 1935 portraying the President and his travels, and of course, a life size seated bronze sculpture of Teddy, cast at Polich Tallix.

A real life TR impersonator sat for the portrait photograph from which StudioEIS used as inspiration in modeling a full size clay version of The President. Based out of Brooklyn New York, StudioEIS is the leader in design and production of museum figures. Using the traditional lost wax process, Polich Tallix cast the figure in sections, welded, chased, and patinated the bronze to a deep, handsome brown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most have walked past a statue of Teddy already at the museum once or twice before, some without even realizing. At the Central Park West staircase ten feet in the air, an epic portrayal of a conquering hunter and explorer is seated on a horse. Beside him stands two figures to represent the American and African continents. Sculpted by James Earle Fraser in 1939, this rendition of The President is elevated and prestigious, commanding attention.

The brand new bronze sculpture shows a much different side of this progressive leader. The exhibit coincides with the reopening of the Hall of North American Mammals. Always considered a true cowboy at heart, Roosevelt found his way through African Safari, Brazilian jungles, two terms in The White House, one as the Vice President, and all the while maintaining his humanitarian spirit and love of nature. Rather than hoisted high in the air outside of the museum, he is seated on a simple wooden bench, inviting museum goers to sit beside him and enjoy the newly re-opened Roosevelt Rotunda. He will certainly be the premier photo-op of the Museum of Natural History, and a delightful edition to the permanent collection. For more information and details on exhibition highlights, visit the museum’s website.

‘Brooklyn Bucolic’ Rocks the Avenue H Station House

The homes within a few blocks of Brooklyn’s Avenue H Station House probably aren’t quite what you would imagine. Most people think Brooklyn architecture as a towering walk-up, a classic brownstone, or railroad style apartment buildings. But just around the corner from the subway platform that has stood since 1905, century old Queen Annes and Victorian homes line the streets adorned with their signature sweeping bay windows, colorful stained glass, slate rooftops, and of course, a vital part of any American home built of the time, wraparound front porches.

Ed Kopel, a  Brooklyn based architect with offices only a few blocks from the station, proposed this project to the MTA Arts For Transit a few years ago. The MTA’s Brighton Line Rehabilitation project has been ongoing on since 2009, working  to upgrade a long list of platforms.  Brooklyn Bucolic, Kopel’s installation, is inspired by the unique element of the station house’s front façade: it’s wraparound porch.  Seven fixed and brightly patinated bronze Shaker style rocking chairs in varying sizes able to accommodate children and adults, scatter the north and east side of the house. Each original rocking chair, slightly different than the next, were hand carved in maple by JP Parnas Woodworking out of Massachusetts. Molds were made of every chairs’ element, followed by waxes, and eventually they were cast in bronze. The subtle bend of the chairs’ profiles up to the detail of the wood texture and lattice woven seats translated beautifully into metal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As to compliment the timeline of the 19thcentury homes surrounding Flatbush Avenue, the Shaker Chairs’ simple and classic build suggest conversation between neighbors and invite them to sit and enjoy one another’s company. Deep reds, rich yellows, and pale green laced patterns harmonize with the surrounding neighborhood architcture; the perfect finishing touches to a beautifully renovated historical structure.
Photos courtesy of the MTA Arts For Transit

Greetings from Oslo!

We received an email from one of our clients with  spectacular images from the gallery space inside the new building at Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, Norway. To Be With Art Is All We Ask showcases some of the world’s premiere contemporary working artists, highlighting exceptional pieces from their permanent collection. Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Charlie Ray, and the man behind the lens, Frank Benson, all artists we have had the pleasure to work alongside, and all in one room.

Above: Charlie Ray’s hand molded and cast aluminum Tractor  beside Frank Benson’s painted bronze Human Statue, both cast at Polich Tallix.

 

Top left: Frank Benson’s polished stainless steel, acrylic polyurethane paint, and powder coated aluminum Chocolate Fountain cast at Polich Tallix.

Bottom right: Jeff Koons’ galvanized steel, polychromed aluminum Caterpillar Ladder cast at Polich Tallix.

The Polich Tallix Sophomore Class

Over the past several months, we have had the opportunity to expand our operation. This includes welcoming 11 new employees to the Polich Tallix family. They range from University graduates to experienced metal finishers. Across nearly all of our departments, the new crew will be cutting their teeth alongside our Veteran craftspeople.

We are happy to introduce to you the new faces of our team:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Jesse Mills (Fabrication) Right: Ernie Legg (Finishing & Ceramic Shell)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Paul Harden (Finishing) Middle: Brad Conklin (Finishing) Right: Hannah Crowl (Finishing & Wax)

Left: RC Wheeler (Finishing) Right: Stephanie Minor (Sales & Marketing)

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Rozele Leger (Wax) Right: Matt DeStefano (Finishing & Wax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Kirsten Cosgrove (Wax) Right: Philip Castore (Finishing & Patina)

Dick Polich, Founder & Managing Director Turns Eighty Today!

For over 40 years, Dick Polich has worked to bring sculpture to life through the art of metal casting and fabrication. As the founder and president of Polich Tallix, he has been the leader in creating many of the world’s most recognizable monuments and sculptures.

Dick Polich graduated from Yale in 1954 with an engineering degree and worked for American Brake Shoe Company making foundry products. It was during that period that he he was introduced to Mert Flemings, a metallurgist at MIT who became his mentor and encouraged his interest in casting and metal.

In 1960′s  Dick studied metallurgy at MIT and received his master degree in 1964. During his time there, MIT received grants  from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations to unite art and technology.  It was his involvement in that program that sparked the idea of a foundry devoted to fine art casting.

Dick started Tallix Foundry- the name derived from a play on the word metallics- in a garage in Nelsonville, NY in 1968.  As his experience and skills grew, the word spread in the art community and the need for a larger facility became apparent. Tallix moved to Peekskill NY, in a facility on the Hudson River.

Years of innovation, experimentation and good work  followed.  Dick made another move to an 85,000 sq.  ft. facility in Beacon NY.  At its peak, Tallix Beacon employed 185 full time artisans and establishing it’s reputation as the premiere fine art foundry.

Additionally, Dick set up Polich Art Works in the 90′s. In 2006 he  merged the two companies, founding Polich Tallix fine art foundry, which is currently located in Rock Tavern, NY in a 55,000 square foot facility with 70 full time craftspeople.

 

 

 

Form meets Function: Richard Prince’s Planters


This past August, one of America’s own backyard sports had its 59th birthday. The wiffle ball is a symbol and icon; pure 1950′s Americana. In fact, every wiffle ball ever made has come out of the original factory in Connecticut. This simple, slotted piece of plastic has woven itself into the architecture of American family life.

Richard Prince, the artist best known for his appropriation of pop culture imagery while discussing  media as subconscious authority on every day life, has done it again. Always inspired by blue collar backyard cliches, Prince approached Polich Tallix with the task of creating metal wiffle balls at 3x the scale of the original object, to use as homes for a variety of different indoor plant life.

In order to recreate the enlarged wiffle ball in metal, we carefully measured and translated the object into a digital surface model that could be read by CNC machining equipment.  The ball was sectioned at it’s hemisphere and milled directly into solid block of aluminum.  Rare earth magnets were inset into both halves so it can be easily opened and closed for watering and plant maintenance. All of the surfaces were hand sanded and finished off with a matte spring green paint coating.

Polich Tallix Restores Clement Meadmore’s ‘Upstart II’

Clement Meadmore is often regarded as Australia’s most significant public sculptor. His behemoth aluminum, bronze and steel twisting forms can be seen hulking over passerbys in Tokyo, Melbourne, New York and many other major cities all over the world. Upstart II, a painted aluminum piece originally fabricated by Lippincott in 1968 recently arrived at Polich Tallix for restoration. The sculpture stands tall at a staggering 25 feet, 5 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our expert craftsmen are refurbishing the sculpture by repairing cosmetic surface damage and restoring the originally intended color of the metal with an outdoor grade, jet black satin finish paint. The artist’s large scale  outdoor works may seem quite contrary to his process. Meadmore would piece together palm sized polyester maquettes like building blocks, view them from every angle, and continually alter the orientation until he was completely satisfied with the form; often times laboring over the shape for months.

Once the sculpture has been returned to its original state, Polich Tallix will fabricate new mounting and oversee the installation of Upstart II at Oshawa, Ontario City Hall in late September. Click here for the gallery’s press release.

 

 

Kelley Walker: Media and Material

Kelley Walker recently wrapped up a new collection of work that was presented by the Catherine Bastide Gallery in Brussells. The collection is continuing to evolve and will be shown in The States in November at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York.

In the ad world, Volkswagen changed everything. With their stark, bold and sometimes bizarre tag lines, the German car manufacturer quite  literally put the creative wheels in motion, challenging their competitors to think outside of the box. Kelley Walker decided to follow suit. In this body of work, the artist borrows the old Bug adds and uses alternative methods in making sculpture through the the 3-d modeling program, Rhino. This software is used in a number of different industries from architecture and industrial design to automotive and jewelry design.  Paired alongside over a hundred Pantone CMYK silkscreen wall panels, the artist displayed water-jet cut painted aluminum and stainless steel forms that were constructed at Polich Tallix from the 3d data Walker designed.

Just as Volkswagen pressed the envelope of accepted, suitable advertising methods of the time, Walker joins the growing pool of artists that utilize contemporary technology and methods in the processes of art making.

Images courtesy of Catherine Bastide

Read more here

Our Interns: Hannah and Femi

For the past few months, our craftspeople at Polich Tallix have had the absolute pleasure of training two college students, both of whom are determined and hardworking individuals. It was clear from day one they possessed the patience and desires to explore all aspects of foundry work, from mold making and wax rework to finishing and patina. Before they head back to start the fall semester, we asked each of them a few questions about their internship experiences.

Hannah Levy is entering her senior year at Cornell University and will graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts. Femi Ibitoye is studying Architecture at Virginia Tech, with two more years ahead of him as an undergrad.

Polich Tallix: What was the most useful skill you feel you learned this summer?

Hannah: The skills I plan immediately to use I learned by working in the mold department. Making a mold for wax is the same as a mold for any other material; however the master craftspeople at the foundry have developed a process that is both efficient and exact. I’ve learned new techniques from them every day. I also enjoyed learning how to replicate fine metal texture in the finishing department. Although I am not sure when I will next have access to facilities that allow for casting in metal, the skills necessary for fine metal textures are relevant to a variety of modes of production. The finisher’s specialized tools for each unique texture are an extraordinary example of the problem solving necessary to fabricate at such a high level. I hope to be able to replicate this specificity of technique in my own practice.

Polich Tallix: What drew you to metal casting to begin with?

Femi: The need to satisfy my curiosity of how wax is transformed to metal. I learned the theory of the lost wax process a while ago. When I was 11, I first came across the words ‘cire perdue’ which is French for ‘lost wax’ and I imagined what the process would be like, but I still had a couple of unanswered questions until recently.

Polich Tallix: What was your favorite project you had the opportunity to work on?

Hannah: I most enjoyed working on the Bruce High Quality Foundation’s 12’ tall inflatable Scab Rat cast in bronze. I have been following their work for a while and it was exciting to have the opportunity to help produce a piece of theirs. Since the Rat sculpture has been on view outside The Lever House in New York City, where I grew up, I have been receiving dozens of photos of friends and family members standing in front of the Rat. One of my favorite parts of working in the foundry this summer has been being able to watch master craftsmen work on pieces by artists such as Jasper Johns, Matthew Barney, George Condo, and Richard Prince. I look forward to seeing pieces that I witnessed being assembled in museums and galleries for years to come.

Femi:  Ed Kopel’s MTA Shaker Chairs in bronze. I liked the intricate details from the fabric used to weave the back and seat of each chair. I very much enjoyed working around people with a common goal, where the next person is waiting for you to finish your part of the process so they can contribute their own skills to further progress each project. Yours is one task in the very big picture that is casting metal.

Polich Tallix: How do you plan on using the skills you’ve acquired in your future?

Hannah: I hope to use all of the skills I have acquired this summer in my own future practice. The craftpeople here have a way of looking at a challenge with complete attention to detail and incredible efficiency. I hope to be able to adopt this attitude as a means to work through my own fabrication challenges.

Femi: As a prospective architect, I realize that I might not be involved in the design process from start to finish. I’ve learned that it’s about what others bring to the table through collaboration, like I have witnessed here. This is what makes the world tick, the melding of minds. Here at the foundry I have been introduced to a broad spectrum of materials that I never had worked with before. When I return to school, you can bet I probably won’t be working in just wood and cardboard anymore.

 


 

 

International Artist JR: Breaking Boundaries

A few weeks ago, a young artist came to us with a fresh idea. Based out of Paris, the city he grew up in, he works part time out of his Brooklyn studio but his works can be found all over the globe. From Shanghai, North Korea and Sao Paulo to Israel and Palestine, JR has ‘flyposted’ his photographed portraits on the sides of buildings, water towers, on roofs of houses and trains, you name it. He exhibits freely, and suggests the people of the world who want to get involved in any of his many projects do the same.

We have cast thousands of found objects, original clay pieces, foam, plastics, direct waxes, objects found in nature, carved wood forms, the list goes on. JR is the first artist we have worked with to cast original photographs in metal. He came to us with several large format halftone prints of peoples’ eyes. He spent several hours sculpting each page through a series of bends and folds to change the orientation from a flat print to a sculptural dimensional shape. Our wax department prepared the pieces for ceramic shell casting. No mold was made as these pieces are one of a kind originals. We will pour 356 aluminum to create metal positives of the paper sculptures. Once each piece is cast complete it will be painted to mimic the color of the original paper. Our team of expert craftsmen have come up with a unique way to paint each black dot of the halftone photo onto the metal. Once the pieces are finished, the only difference between the paper original and the cast metal will be the weight, feel, and of course, permanence of the piece. From the very ephemeral state of paper posted outside, art that must brave the elements, art that may and will change over time, to the polar opposite: a permanent solution in metal; JR is continually breaking boundaries in international culture, and in art.

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Installation images courtesy the Artist and Galerie Perrotin.

The New Colossus Arrives at the Lever House in NYC

“Art History With Labor” a new exhibition by the Bruce High Quality Foundation,  opened last Thursday at the outdoor lobby of the Lever House on Park Avenue. The Lever House has formerly exhibited works by Jeff Koons, Tom Sachs and Damien Hirst.

The center of the exhibit features a 12′ tall Bronze Union Scab Rat that was manufactured at Polich Tallix. The massive, nearly 5,000 lb sculpture,  was cast and assembled, finished, patinated and installed  in less than four months.

The original model for the sculpture is the recognizable vinyl blow-up Rat,  ussually situated outside to mark the protest of union workers against Scabs, or temporary workers that take over the jobs of union members when they go on strike. Working with experts at Direct Dimensions and Digital Atelier, the orignal vinyl model was digitally scanned, enlarged and CNC machined in urethane in order to create the physical model for molding and lost wax casting.

The exhibition also includes other works by the Bruce High Quality Foundation and will be on view at the Lever House through September 28th. Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

Ghada Amer Paints with Stainless Steel

Ghada Amer, a New York based contemporary artist born in Cairo and trained in France, has been a regular visitor to the foundry in the past few months. Her works both sculptural and two-dimensional depict sexually charged, often erotic images commenting on the role and representation of the female nude as it has evolved throughout history in the art world.

We feel fortunate to work with Ghada at this pivotal point in her career. Notable works of hers in the past dealt primarily with embroidering, or rather, painting in thread. With upcoming exhibitions in Seoul Korea at Kukje Gallery and then in New York City at Cheim & Reid next spring, she is now casting works in stainless steel. Her most recent finished piece, Blue Bra Girls, seemed to light up every corner of the foundry. The artist began work on the piece by executing a line drawing over an egg shaped form, slightly over 6 feet tall. Lengths of resin were laid over the line drawing. Once the resin had set, it was cut in to manageable sections for molding. From these sections, we made silicone rubber molds in order to produce waxes. Each piece was cast in 316 stainless steel through the lost wax process. Once the sections were cast, the egg form was reassembled, welded, chased and the entire sculpture was mirror polished inside and out.

 

 

Images of Amer’s sculpture installed at the FIAC art fair in Paris, late October 2012.

 

Images courtesy of Tina Kim Gallery/Cheim & Read

Our Craftspeople: Unju Lee

Unju Lee has been working with Polich Tallix since 2001. He started  with us shortly after receiving his Masters degree in sculpture from Pratt Institute. Unju is what we call a “cross trainer.” He’s worked in many departments over the years including mold making, wax rework and finishing.  As a sculptor in his own right, Unju began working with Polich Tallix to learn and grow with the guidance of other craftsmen and artists.

The most challenging project Unju recalls during his time at Polich Tallix was Richard Prince’s Boot Leg. Unju remembers the meticulous chasing of the subtle texture to be a great challenge and learning experience.

For the past couple of months, Unju has worked primarily with his favorite artist, Tom Friedman, welding, chasing and polishing various editions of the Peeing Man and Circle Dance. Both sculptures are highly detailed Stainless Steel castings of figures that were  originally constructed from various bits and  pieces of aluminum foil, pans, plates and roasting dishes.

Roberto Clemente Memorial Unveiled

A memorial  to legendary baseball player Roberto Clemente was unveiled in Newark, New Jersey  to thousands of  fans last weekend. The statue of the athlete was sculpted by artist Susan Wagnor, enlarged and cast in bronze here at PT.

Click here to read the article and see a slideshow of all the festivites surrounding the memorials’ unveiling

Our Craftspeople: Mario Nardin


Mario Nardin
has been a  veteran of Polich Tallix since 1977. He is our foremost expert in metal finishing and chasing. We asked Mario a few questions about his time at the foundry. Here’s what he had to say:

 

PT: Tell us about your background, education and training in the arts….

MN: I was born in Venice, Italy.  I began my education in the arts at Accademia di Bella Arte in Venice then moved to London in 1959 and became an assistant to internationally acclaimed sculptor Fiore de Henriquez.  I traveled to New York to work on a commission with her in 1962, a racehorse at Roosevelt Raceway.   She introduced me to her friend, renowned sculptor Jaccques Lipchitz, who asked me to stay in the United States and become his assistant.

I stayed with Jacques until his death.  At the same time, I pursued my own career as a sculptor, exhibiting in galleries in Europe, Italy, Colorado and the New York City metropolitan area. My work is in the permanent collections of the Hudson River Museum and Fordham University, installed at the entrance of City Hall in Santa Rosa, California, and in numerous private collections in the United States, Canada and Europe.

PT:  What does working at Polich Tallix mean to you?

MN: Working at PT gives me the opportunity to collaborate and work with some of the world’s leading artists.  It’s wonderful to work with a young artist like Sabin Howard who creates such expressive, sensual sculptures and who speaks with me in Italian and respects the years of experience I bring to his work.  It’s nice to be able to joke with someone like Tom Otterness who likes to make you laugh.   It’s fulfilling to work with a demanding client and be able to give him not just what he expects but more.  It’s great to work with my creative colleagues here at PT and exchange ideas and work on solutions to challenges. I especially enjoy the opportunities to teach newer workers and  passing on all the skills I’ve learned over the years from other artists and through my own experiences.  Working in such a creative environment makes working at PT more than a job for an artist.

PT: Tell us about some of the most challenging projects you have encountered during your career at PT?

MN: I always have challenging projects at PT because of the many artists who produce sculptures here and the range of styles of their work.  Bart Walter captures the essence of animals and they are particularly challenging to a finisher because it is so difficult to reproduce the textures he creates in the originals and still retain the realism of form and movement.   The whimsical figures of Tom Otterness require perfection in polishing.   Martin Puryear’s wooden sculptures are also a challenge because it is necessary to reproduce the same textures he creates in wood, in metal.

PT: When you look back at the numerous projects you have worked on in 35 years at the foundry, can you single out a favorite?

MN: My favorite project was the installation of Claes Oldenburg’s Valentine Perfume Bottle as the focal piece at the Venice Biennale in 1997.  I was sent by PT to work with and translate for Mr. Oldenburg.  Of course,  I am a Venetian so I was happy to be returning and working there but the opportunity to work so closely with a legendary master artist on an important project was an incredible and memorable experience.

Four Freedoms Park Awaits FDR Portrait by Jo Davidson

The process of creating an historic monument is always an exciting and rewarding task. Currently we are in production on an enlarged bronze portrait bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt, sculpted by artist Jo Davidson in 1933, during Roosevelt’s first term in office. Davidson was considered to be the country’s foremost portrait sculptor in the early 20th century and created enduring physical records of the eras most important figures from Mohandas Gandhi to Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin.

As the project nears completion, the construction of the park is also taking shape. The masterful space was designed by renowned architect Louis I. Kahn using what is now known as a forced perspectival parti, a triangular plan that is used to persuade the viewers gaze toward a focal point, in this case the bronze portrait of FDR.


The park is slated to open this Fall. To find out more information please visit the official website for FDR’s Four Freedoms Park  and be sure to watch the video below, narrated by Orson Welles.

Images courtesy of FDR’s Four freedoms Park 

Thomas Jefferson Statue Unveiled

Early this week a statue of Thomas Jefferson, designed by sculptors at Studio EIS and cast here at Polich Tallix, was unveiled at the capitol building in Richmond Virginia.  Jefferson, also known as “The Architect of Liberty”, designed the capitol building in Richmond nearly 230 years ago. Here’s a short clip of the unveiling this past Monday.

Our Craftspeople: Paul Henry McMahill

Paul started at Polich Tallix in 1986, working as the supervisor of casting, sand molding, shell building & divestment. A few of his many innovations for the company include development of new sand casting and gating processes as well as playing a crucial rule in designing  experimental metal alloys for casting. Additionally, Paul has acted as  mentor and teacher to countless employees in his departments.

Paul earned his BA in Art from California State College at Humboldt and then went on to complete his MFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University.

Looking back at all the projects he has worked on in the past 26 years, Paul remembers the most challenging project for him was molding and casting Louise Bourgeios’ 25 foot fountain shown below. The fountain was completed and installed at the Anges R. Katz Plaza in Pittsburgh in 1999.

Assembling a 10’ Stainless Steel Bear

Canadian Artist Dean Drever received a commission in 2010 to produce a 10’ tall Kodiak Bear in mirror polished stainless steel.  The project was completed and (more…)

Zhang Huan’s Three Legged Buddha

Zhang Huan’s Three Legged Buddha from Polich Tallix on Vimeo.

Zhang Huan’s Three Legged Buddha was fabricated in 2007 by over 100 craftsmen in the artists’ studio in China. The massive sculpture was built in less than one month.

In March 2010 the sculpture arrived at Polich Tallix for a restoration that would ensure its longevity for next 75 years.

Three Legged Buddha was constructed of welded and hammered copper over a steel frame. The sculpture is over 28 feet high and  48 feet in diameter

The sculpture is now on view at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY.

The video above is a video documenting the process from start to finish including the installation at Storm King.

Polished Boulders by Jim Hodges Land at the Walker Art Center

After their debut at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in NYC, Jim Hodges “Untitled, 2011″ polished boulders were dedicated at their new permanent home, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

The Walker recently posted this photoshop stitched panoramic image of the sculptures installed on the hill behind the museum. If you missed the show in New York and can’t make it to Minneapolis, this is a real treat. Click here for a panoramic view of the installation.

Each boulder weighs between 20,000 -25,000 lbs.

Images by  via the Walker Art Center

 

Frank Benson: Hyper Realism in the Digital Age

 

A new generation of sculptors is using modern techniques to transcend the capabilities of what can be achieved with the human hand.

Jessie, Frank Benson’s mannequin-like bronze statue is a culmination of these technologies utilizing a diverse range of modern manufacturing techniques including three dimensional scanning, digital surface manipulation, rapid prototyping and CNC machining.

Benson began the project with a live female model. Working with 3D programming experts, Benson scanned the model with a non-contact 3D camera. The camera took sample measurements across the surface of the model in order to extrapolate her form and geometry. The final product: an identical fully formed 3D computer model.

Before translating this digital information into a pattern, Benson worked tirelessly to manipulate the surface textures that were acquired in the primary scan. The skin texture was amplified and exaggerated. The dress was smoothed and stylized and the hair was digitally sculpted. Benson used high resolution photographs to guide him in the surface manipulation, moving the figure beyond realism into hyper realism.

Three separate processes were used to in order to transfer the computer data into a physical model for lost wax casting:

The arms, head and hand were created through a form of  3Dprinting called DLP or digital light processing technology.  In essence, a series of Voxels (or 3d pixels) are projected onto a platform of liquid photo-polymer. When the image is projected onto the platform it cures the polymer resulting in one small microscopic cross section layer. The process is then repeated layer by layer until the entire object has become a solid part.

The Dress was achieved through a reductive process: CNC machined from block of urethane foam at the Digital Atelier. The machining paths are developed using the digital scan information, removing material from the block until the final form is revealed.

Jessie’s glasses were also CNC milled, but in this case they were machined directly into solid bronze blocks, therefore there is no need to mold or cast them in the lost wax process

 

After all the models were created, we made molds and castings for each of the components. The castings were assembled, welded, chased and bead blasted and painted.


Images courtesy of the artist and Taxter and Spengemannn Gallery

How a Bronze is Made: An Illustrated Guide from Tom Otterness

Explaining the casting process is not always an easy task. All the reversals from positive to negative, can leave you with your head spinning. If you are interested in  thoroughly understanding the steps of lost wax process, then here is your guide. Illustrated by sculptor, Tom Otterness.

Click on the first image to start the slideshow

Martin Puryear Presented with the National Medal of Arts

We are so pleased to congratulate our friend and client, Martin Puryear, for the high honor he received last month from President Obama. Puryear was a recipient of the 2011 National Medal of Arts for his contributions as a contemporary American sculptor.

His steadfast commitment to traditional craftsmanship and building methods is admirable. Congratulations Martin, you truly deserve it!

Photo: Kevin Dietsch via UPI.com

Here’s a look at some of the projects we cast  for Martin over the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos Via: Donald Young Gallery

Herzog & de Meuron’s 40 Bond Street Graffiti Fence

Herzog & de Meuron’s 40 Bond Street Graffiti Fence from Polich Tallix on Vimeo.

In 2007 Polich Tallix created a custom  fence for Herzog and de Meuron’s 40 Bond Street Complex. The patterns, inspired by downtown grafitti were translated into digital patterns that were machined from styrofoam and cast directly into aluminum.

Custom Aluminum Cladding for Allied Work Architecture

Custom Aluminum Cladding for Allied Work Architecture from Polich Tallix on Vimeo.

In 2009 Polich Tallix devised a new method of sandcasting aluminum as the result of a collaboration with Allied Works Architecture.  Ultimately we created and installed about 4,000 square feet of aluminum paneling for a residence in NYC.  The intricate patterning on each panel was a result of process. Our foundry team and the architects at Allied Works worked together to devise a way to align the patterning of each panel.  A great deal of staging was necessary in order to achieve the desired effect. Each panel was completely unique so finding the right line up was critical. The video above shows the process of laying out one section of the interior.

Find out more about the concept and design process at Allied Works Architecture

Molten Metals: White Bronze

Molten Metals: White Bronze from Polich Tallix on Vimeo.

Watch a White Bronze pour at Polich Tallix Foundry. Inside the molds are panels for a 63′ water wall designed by Al Miller and now installed at Frederick Douglass Circle at the Northwest Corner of Central Park in Manhattan. The circle opened  to the public in 2011.

The American Folk Art Museum Exterior

The American Folk Art Museum Exterior from Polich Tallix on Vimeo.

The American Folk Art Museum is an architectural landmark in NYC. The building, which reopened it’s doors in 2001, was designed by architects  Todd Williams and Bille Tsien. Polich Tallix worked closely with the architects for several years, researching and developing new strategies for a ground breaking exterior cladding system that was to be cast in metal. Experimenting with an alloy of white bronze, Polich Tallix devised a system where the molten metal would be cast over concrete, creating anomalies and imperfections in the surfaces of each panels. Each of the massive panels has it’s own unique characteristics, intrinsic to the variations of the casting process. The building stretches 100 feet wide and climbs eight stories high. Color variations in the metal panels create a responsiveness to the changing daylight, deepening the glow and warmth of the suns reflection throughout the day. The video below was shot over a 45 min a minute period as the sun was beginning to set behind the towering the buildings of midtown Manhattan, then shortened to less than a minute so one can see the beauty of the changing light in the metal.

Redefining Material: Stainless Steel

One of the challenges of using mirror polished stainless for sculpture is that viewers lose the  identity of the object because what they see in the reflection of the stainless is what exists around the sculpture and not the sculpture itself. One of the happiest solutions to this problem I have seen is the sculpture “Sirens” by John Greer. By splitting the figure and only polishing one surface, John has made it possible for the viewer to absorb the sculpture and the surroundings of the sculpture at the same time. To see it is to understand it.

Do Ho Suh’s Karma Installed at NOMA

Do Ho Suh’s “Karma”, A twenty three foot tall monumental Stainless Steel Sculpture, recently made the 1,300 mile trip from Polich Tallix to the New Orleans Museum of Art.  The towering sculpture is now a permanent resident in the Sydney and Walda Bestoff Sculpture Garden.

Karma consists of 98 cast and metal sintered figures, each subsequent figure descending in size until it reaches the top. Casting the sculpture presented many challenges for us, which we overcame through clever engineering and a wide array of manufacturing processes from CNC milling to rapid prototyping to direct metal laser sintering.

A Bronze version of the same sculpture was created and installed last year at the Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo, NY. After doing several material samples for the artist, Do Ho Suh decided to create a stainless steel version.