Albert Paley: Celebrating a Contemporary American Sculptor

This exhibition celebrates Albert Paley's diverse and significant body of work, his virtuosity as a monumental sculptor, and the completion and dedication of Odyssey, Paley's gateway into Iowa on Interstate 80 at S. 24th Street in Council Bluffs, Iowa, near the Missouri River border with neighboring Omaha. Odyssey was commissioned by the Iowa West Foundation as part of their nationally acclaimed Public Art Initiative.

Albert Paley: Celebrating a Contemporary American Sculptor
is made possible by a generous grant from the Iowa West Foundation with additional support from Douglas County and Philip J. Willson.

Albert Paley
Albert Paley is the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects, the AIA's highest award to a non-architect. He began his artistic career as a jeweler — one of the major goldsmiths of the studio art movement in America. Best known today for his large-scale sculpture, he has been heralded for his inventive approach to form development and metal technique. The site-specific metal assemblages Paley has created over the past three decades place him not only in the forefront of contemporary sculpture, but also in the vanguard of artists working in the new, genre-defying area that has been called "Archisculpture." His inclusion in this group is due to his skill in merging boundaries between the two disciplines and his innovative experiments with environmental and formal considerations.

Paley holds the Charlotte Fredericks Mowris Endowed Chair in the College of Imagining Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology. Commissioned by both public institutions and private corporations, Paley has completed more than 50 site-specific works. Some notable examples are the Portal Gates for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC; Synergy, a ceremonial archway in Philadelphia; the Portal Gates for the New York State Senate Chambers in Albany; Sentinel, a monumental plaza sculpture for Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as a 65-foot sculpture for the entry court of Bausch and Lomb's headquarters in Rochester, NY. Recently completed works include three sculptures for the National Harbor development near Washington, DC; a 130-foot long archway named Animals Always for the St. Louis Zoo; a gate for the Cleveland Botanical Garden; a sculptural relief for Wellington Place, Toronto, Canada; a sculpture named Threshold for the corporate headquarters of Klein Steel, Rochester, NY; and a ceremonial entranceway called Transformation for Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Paley's sculptures are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, London's Victoria and Albert Museum, the Smithsonian's Museum of American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Houston.

Paley's Moment in Joslyn Art Museum's Sculpture Garden
Recently, Joslyn welcomed a monumental Paley work titled Moment (2009, CorTen steel with patina finish) to its campus. A long-term loan from the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the over-fourteen-foot steel sculpture is the inaugural work for Joslyn's program of changing outdoor sculpture. It arrived in Omaha after Paley's acclaimed exhibition Dialogue with Steel at Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey and sits on the southwest corner of the Museum's grounds (just off of 24th and Dodge Streets). Moment provides visitors the opportunity to experience Paley's art, which enhances the spaces in which they are placed and, in return, are enhanced by those spaces.

The Paley Exhibition at Joslyn
The Paley exhibition at Joslyn illustrates the artist's process in conceptualizing and creating his projects through preliminary and working drawings, site plans, photographs, videos demonstrating methods and materials of construction, and maquettes (small scale models). Included will be sketches and maquettes for Odyssey, a gateway sculpture of four component parts for Council Bluffs, set to be installed this month (see below). Other highlights are the steel and gold design study for Paley's acclaimed Good Shepherd Gate for Washington National Cathedral; drawings and the maquette for Threshold, a large-scale, bright yellow site specific work at the Klein Steel headquarters in Rochester, NY (Klein supplies most of the steel for Paley's sculptures), and Paley's plans and drawings for commissions at Naples Art Museum (Naples, FL), Cleveland (OH) Botanical Garden, The University of the South (Sewanee, TN), Charlotte (NC) Coliseum, Iowa State University (Ames), New Jersey Transit's Trenton Transit Center, and the Mayerson JCC at The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati (OH).

Paley's Council Bluffs Bridge Project
The installation of Paley's Odyssey will create a dramatic gateway into Iowa and entrance to the city of Council Bluffs. Interstate 80 drivers will get their first glimpse of the gateway miles before they actually reach the S. 24th Street bridge. Odyssey is four distinct mixed-metal (stainless steel, weathering steel, and bronze plate) sculptures, each composed of as many as fifteen individual elements, rising some 100 feet about the interstate. The sculptures' undulating ribbons, jagged spears, and abstract shapes will reach against a backdrop of changing skies and expansive agricultural landscape, creating an experience drivers will not soon forget. Odyssey installation will be complete by the end of August.

Joslyn's Hitchcock Museum Shop offers books about Albert Paley including Albert Paley in the 21st Century and Albert Paley: Portals and Gates. The shop is open during all regular Museum hours.