A change for a well known sculpture series at the MAG

Aug 8, 2018

Credit Jeanne Fisher / WXXI News

If you drive or walk by the Memorial Art Gallery on University Avenue near Goodman Street on a regular basis you may notice a change taking place. On Tuesday, workers, using a crane, began removing one of the large limestone sculptures.

It’s one of the figures created by artist Tom Otterness at the gallery’s Centennial Sculpture Park.  Several years ago, Otterness  created two figures at the entrance to the sculpture park-- a female sculptor who is carving a male figure from a block of stone.

The installation, called "Creation Myth", consists of a number of large pieces carved out of limestone and a series of smaller cast bronze pieces.

But museum director Jonathan Binstock says the female sculpture hasn’t fared too well in Western New York’s climate.

“She didn’t weather well in our Rochester climate, the limestone, for whatever reason, and the formal composition of the piece, conspired to create some instability in the material and the artist agreed to replace it with a bronze version," Binstock told WXXI News.

Credit Memorial Art Gallery

Binstock says Otterness will take the damaged piece back, and he says the bronze piece that is being put in its place will match very well with the rest of the sculptures in the series.

"Bronze is a beautiful material that has survived centuries, buried in the ground all over the world in different contexts, so this figure, even though she’s kind of off kilter and active and leaning forward, as a bronze figure, she will do just beautifully here," Binstock said.

The replacement sculpture is being installed this week.