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George Rickey’s The Art of a Kinetic Sculptor Provides New Walking Tour for Albany

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George Rickey’s The Art of a Kinetic Sculptor, Albany

george rickeyA new walking tour in downtown Albany brings world renowned art to the sidewalk. The 2011 Sculpture in the Streets exhibition sponsored by the Albany Downtown Business Improvement District features the art of late American kinetic sculptor George Rickey.  Only the third of its kind, the exhibition showcases five impressive metal pieces that move with the wind.

Rickey, who died in 2002, was a professor of architecture at R.P.I. in the 1960s. His work is familiar to the Capital Region with sculptures as permanent fixtures on the Empire State Plaza, in front of the Albany Institute of History and Art, at the Albany International Airport as well as two pieces on the R.P.I. campus. He is recognized as a “pioneer in kinetic sculpture,” referring to art which contains moving parts. His work, most of which he created in his studio in East Chatham, is also displayed in Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.

“The Art of a Kinetic Sculptor” began on June 17 and will run through March 2012. The exhibit and tour are free and open to the public. Walking tour maps will be available at area merchants, the Downtown Albany BID office at 40 North Pearl Street, Albany and online. There are five visiting pieces on loan from the Rickey Foundation.

george rickey kinetic sculptureTo see them, start out at the Federal Plaza across from the Palace Theatre. There you will see “Six Lines in a T II” which looks a little bit like a power line, which Rickey worked on from 1964 to 1979. Walk up to Academy Park on Eagle Street across from City Hall to see the second sculpture, “Two Conical Segments Gyratory Gyratory II” from 1979 which looks like a ten foot tall weather vane.

Head back downhill to Broadway to see the third installation “Three Squares Gyratory I” located at Kiernan Plaza. This piece was done by Rickey in 1971 and looks like metal speakers turning around a pole. Walk down Broadway to Maiden Lane and see the next sculpture, “Rectangles Horizontal Jointed, Big, Thin, Small” at Maiden Lane Park. Created in 1990, it looks vaguely like a traffic post at first glance placed in the middle of the grass. 

Saving the best for last, the final installment is located in front of the SUNY Plaza. “Column of Four Squares Eccentric Gyratory III, Var. II” was also made in 1990 and appears as an almost otherworldly metal creation of modern art set amongst the castle-like architecture of the SUNY administration building.

 –Stacey Stump is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.

 The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region & the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

Short URL: http://thefreegeorge.com/thefreegeorge/?p=13356

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