Posted On: May 14, 2008

Richard Deacon: Assembly

The Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art program presents Richard Deacon: Assembly, an exhibition of seven large, brilliantly-colored ceramic sculptures on the lawns of historic Madison Square Park in Midtown Manhattan.

Welsh-born artist Richard Deacon has transformed public art and achieved international recognition for his sculpture, which is marked by an interest in materials and their manipulation and an innovative use of open form.  Deacon has challenged and extended notions of what sculpture is and might be. His work has been known as much for its found-object sensibility as for its virtuoso celebration of craft and has included works in laminated wood, stainless steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, and leather. His work ranges from bent forms and fluid constructions in wood and metal to large-scale works that contain the architecture of a space to works that subvert industrial construction into a new meaning and material expression. Over the past few years, Deacon has been exploring clay and ceramics as a sculptural material.

The Madison Square Park exhibition focuses on this new and inventive aspect of Deacon’s work” his investigation into ceramics. In the park, Deacon will show seven new ceramic works never before publicly exhibited that were created over the last year at the Niels Dietrich ceramic studio in Cologne, Germany. The newest work on display, the Assembly series, is a group of four variations on geometric relationships, each presenting an economy of form crossed with an earthly solidity: large-scale,  elegant structures composed of richly glazed and patterned ceramic elements which present a tactile and visual sculptural experience.

Photos by Ellen Wilson

About Richard Deacon

Richard Deacon was born in Bangor, Wales, in 1949. He has occupied the foreground of British sculpture for the past three decades and has had a major presence around the world as highly respected sculptor. Last summer he was selected to represent Wales Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. In 1999 he was awarded CBE, Commander of the British Empire. In 1998 he was elected to the Royal Academy, London. In 1997 he received the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture. In 1987 was honored with Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize.

Deacon’s work has been exhibited throughout the world. The exhibition Border Traffic: Richard Deacon is now on view in southern France at the Fondation Maeght, St Paul de Vence. Upcoming projects include a one-man exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, s’-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, September 2008. He has had solo exhibitions at   the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; PS-1/Institute for Art and Urban Resources, New York; Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre, Scotland; Whitechapel, London; ARC/Musee d’art moderne de la ville de Paris; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; and MoCA, Los Angeles; and has participated in such important international surveys as Documenta IX, Kassel, 1992; Skulptur Projekte Munster, 1997 and 1987; and the Carnegie International, 1991 and 1985.

Deacon’s numerous public art commissions include recent projects in Spain, as well past projects in the U.S., Netherlands, China, Tokyo, U.K., Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada, and New Zealand. He has undertaken professorships at the London Institute; the Hochschule fur Angewandte Kunst, Vienna; and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

Major support is provided by the Donald R. Mullen Family Foundation, Leucadia Foundation, Toby D. Lewis Trust and Henry Luce Foundation. This project is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. This exhibition is organized with the assistance of the Marian Goodman Gallery.


The New York Times, 5.11.08