Artist Aaron Curry's vividly hued work marries modernist forms and cutting-edge cool, evoking everything from scribbles to specters
For the next few months visitors to New York City’s Lincoln Center may feel as though they’ve wandered into a strange drama unfolding on the central plaza. Starting October 7, a group of larger-than-life figures by artist Aaron Curry will surround the famous Revson fountain, their puzzling anatomies like a child’s doodles realized in brightly painted aluminum.
Curry, a rugged Texan living in Los Angeles who calls his recent work “a skateboarder's interpretation of Noguchi,” might seem an unlikely fit for one of the world's great temples of music, dance, and theater. But with its ongoing series of public-art installations, Lincoln Center is aiming to engage all comers, from toddlers to backpackers to gala-goers. “I love showing in such an accessible space, for people beyond the usual art crowd," Curry says.
A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, he got his break in 2006, when the Rubell Family Collection invited him to fill a room at its Miami venue with his sculptures and collages.
The next year his peculiar creatures graced the celebrated “Unmonumental” exhibition at Manhattan's New Museum. Curry is especially busy these days: Works silk-screened with digital images of his own skin and hair will be on display from October 12 to November 9 at the Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, and visitors to Dior Homme’s Beverly Hills shop can now find Curry’s epidermal imagery in a site-specific installation.
Most of the artist's projects originate as scribbles. Curry draws every day—usually in bed, watching cooking programs—and when he finds himself repeating a certain face over and over, he'll endow it with a body, or at least a conglomeration of organs and appendages. For the specimens at Lincoln Center, Curry turned his sketches into wood maquettes, which he had blown up and cast in aluminum, painted in a base hue, and, more often than not, airbrushed with vibrant strokes. The pieces inevitably bring to mind Alexander Calder's sheet-metal stabile sculptures, but Curry traces his visual vocabulary largely to comic books and science fiction. And unlike Calder’s sleek forms, Curry's creations telegraph the artist's hand, their irregular edges and crude contours a reminder that each began with a saw and a bit of timber.
“They're there to be experienced, to be touched,” Curry says of the sculptures at Lincoln Center. “People will probably skateboard on them.” But not the artist, who plans to be otherwise engaged. “I’mhoping they can hit me up with some tickets to the ballet.”