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    Nancy N. Schiffer + Val O. Bertoia – The World of Bertoia

    Nancy N. Schiffer + Val O. Bertoia - The World of Bertoia

    Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was an Italian-born American artist who was active from the 1930s through the 1970s. Although he worked in many different mediums, he is best known for a series of metal wire diamond-shaped chairs he designed for Knoll in 1952; as well as dozens of large, abstract, metal sculptures for public spaces such as airports, banks, fountains, libraries and universities; and, of course, his sound sculptures of the 1960s and ’70s.

    Many of these sound sculptures, also known as “tonal sculptures,” feature dozens of tall, slender, metal rods attached to a base. When set in motion by hand, the rods gently sway to and fro and collide with one another, forming an ethereal, haunting cloud of sound. The sound is so beautiful, in fact, that Harry wisely invested in a reel-to-reel tape recorder in the 1970s and captured hundreds of hours on tape of himself playing these sculptures. He then released 11 long-playing vinyl records of the best sessions, which have since become legendary collector’s items in underground record geek circles.

    The World of Bertoia, a huge dining room table book assembled by Harry’s son Val and Nancy Schiffer, pretty much covers every aspect of his life in exhausting detail. From his family tree, personal history, family and education all the way to reflections on his influences, his own work and that of other artists. The book overflows with a generous amount of overwhelmingly gorgeous photos and illustrations that cover Harry’s prodigious output of graphics, jewelry, chairs and, most prominently, sculpture.

    Works grouped under the latter category include wire, line, platform, panels, screens, wire, clouds, welded fountains, plants, dandelions, pressure melting, melt-coated wire, spill castings, bundled wires, wire rods, and sound sculptures. One glaring omission is the lack of cover scans of the aforementioned 11 records. The only other shortcoming is the layout of this book, which resembles that of a product catalog, featuring photos scattered haphazardly across the page with little regard for any kind of artistic graphic design. Harry Bertoia’s vision and execution of his work was so vivid, however, it easily shines right through all of the clutter.

    Publisher: Schiffer Catalog Number: ISBN: 0-7643-1798-9 Format: Book Packaging: Hardcover Pages: 274 Country: United States Released: 2003 More: Amazon, Beroia Studio, Official

    Text ©2009 Arcane Candy

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