Sculpture Map #35 – Woodland Area + Trails

Allen Bertoldi
HOMAGE TO NOGUCHI , 1979
Painted steel
8’ x 1′ x 8’
Gift of the City of Long Beach

A variation of one of Bertoldi’s favorite themes, the circle and the line, curved vs. straight lines.  A straight I-beam is curved into a circle; a straight cut at a 45-degree angle interrupts the curve at the upper left.  Its length and the diameter of the central hole are both one-half of the diameter of the large circle.  Move around the sculpture to notice that it is convex on one side, concave on the other. Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988) was a well-known Japanese sculptor whose works were heavy monolithic pieces that enclosed space or seemed to defy weight.

 

Allen Bertoldi, 1941 – 1981 – California-born and trained sculptor, Bertoldi moved to New York with his family in 1976. He died in 1981 at age 40 after falling off a roof while renovating his recently purchased studio in Brooklyn.

Bertoldi’s five works at the NCMA were part of a one-man exhibition on the grounds in 1979, the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in New York.  His use of simple geometric forms (often repeated), industrially fabricated, with no evidence of the artist’s “touch,” are characteristic of the  Minimal Art of that period, but with an almost poetic sensitivity to the landscape. A special effort was made to integrate each sculpture with its site (“site-specific”) so that both landscape and sculpture are transformed by their interaction with each other.  Strong and architectonic, painted an even matte black, yet also intimate and gentle, the works reflect the personality of their creator.

 

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