The vast interior landscape of Park Hill transformed to become an inner-city drive-through sculpture park for the city of Sheffield.
The vast interior landscape of Park Hill transformed to become an inner-city drive-through sculpture park for the city of Sheffield. Park Hill Plinths is a permanent site-specific public sculpture integrated into the altered interior landscape of the iconic Brutalist Grade 2* Park Hill estate in Sheffield, the largest listed structure in Europe. The inaugural and only permanent work set in the new landscape the site-specific installation features a series of five disc-shaped concrete plinth bases positioned at various intervals across the 3.5-acre site. The 3.18 metre diameter of each plinth directly refers to the basic unitary grid plan of the surrounding Park Hill flats. Using the same concrete mix originally used for the buildings and with their heights based on the estate’s incremental plateaus, the plinths are strongly linked both to the typography and to the material reality of the site. The Park Hill Plinths installation serves to announce the arrival of a new sculpture park Sculpture Park Hill, and helps set the scene for a planned new art museum.
Located within the Manor Castle neighbourhood, amongst the 10% most deprived areas in England, this project establishes a site to encounter and experience sculpture where the immediate community may not otherwise have the opportunity. Re-voicing a post-war socialist ideal of utilising the potential for the sculptural encounter to instigate a radically changed society, and re-awakening the utopian vision that the 1960s Park Hill estate was a key part of, Park Hill Plinths and Sculpture Park Hill serve to revive this concept of sculpture and architecture as a catalyst for social transformation, keeping the project closely bound to Park Hill’s history, indeed becoming the latest chapter of it.
The Object Library was a collaborative, participatory installation located on the first floor of Mina Rees Library at The Graduate Center, CUNY in midtown Manhattan in 2017–20.
The Object Library was a collaborative, participatory installation located on the first floor of Mina Rees Library at The Graduate Center, CUNY in midtown Manhattan in 2017–20. Somewhere between a sculpture gallery and a library, The Object Library offered material artefacts as starting points for conversation and shared speculation, while selected programming engaged the public with the scholarly research and wider activities within and outside of the Graduate Center’s historic building on Fifth Avenue.
The project launched in 2017 with the installation of a set of plaster casts of the marble carvings that originally ran in a strip around the upper walls of the Parthenon (the temple to the goddess Athena atop the Acropolis), fabricated by the British Museum in the early 19th century. On long-term loan from CUNY’s City College, where they had originally been used to teach art and art history for more than 100 years, the sculptures now adorn the Graduate Center’s lobby and library.
The Object Library’s iterative installation, 365 Things, consisted of a steel-framed structure filled with various objects donated by the Graduate Center community, alongside curated programs on related themes. Inspired by Things, a participatory project presented by artist Keith Wilson (director of the Center for the Humanities, 2017–22), at the Wellcome Collection in London in 2010, and Calendar, an exhibition at the MAC Belfast in 2016, 365 Things conveyed a taste of what goes on inside the Graduate Center, the doctoral-granting campus of the City University of New York.
The structure was complemented by Logo 161, a visually striking block-printed floor installation by Richard Woods Studio that reinvented the wood pattern of the original B. Altman & Co. department store floor in shades of blue. Several showcases throughout the space highlighted the activities of the Graduate Center community outside of the building, which were accompanied by related programming, including seminars and events, that brought these wider activities to life.
In collaboration with Wellcome, the project also resulted in a multiyear residency program, which hosted artist Mariam Ghani and subsequently documentary filmmaker Virginia Heath. Each worked with an interdisciplinary group of Graduate Center students to produce projects: Ghani produced a film, entitled Dis-ease, about illness and contagion for Wellcome’s Contagious Cities project; whereas Heath’s docufiction film on vaudeville and Hollywood starlet Mae West, Mae West: Boxer in a Corset, has already achieved critical acclaim. Wellcome’s relationship with the Graduate Center and the Center for the Humanities continued with the appointment of postdoctoral fellow Rebecca Hayes Jacobs, New York project lead on Wellcome’s international Mindscapes project (2019–23), including artist residencies, exhibitions and events on the theme of mental health.
Project at Wellcome Collection that sought to reveal; the behind-the-scenes ‘everyday’ workings of the museum; the meanings people invest in objects, whether special or ordinary; and the private ‘studio’ of the artist.
Project at Wellcome Collection that sought to reveal the behind-the-scenes ‘everyday’ workings of the museum; the meanings people invest in objects, whether special or ordinary; and the private ‘studio’ of the artist. The exhibition began as an empty sculptural framework occupying the whole ground floor exhibition space. This became the architecture into which members of the public were invited to contribute their objects, which, after being received in person were quickly photographed, catalogued and put on open exhibition. In a neat reversal of the usual collection-museum relation, this was the first time a museum opened ‘empty’, and allowed the collection to walk through the front door, brought by the public. The speed and quality of accessioning led to viral interest, spiking the museum’s online activity. Visitors’ participation revealed their own value systems – their social, political, personal and aesthetic choices. I borrowed from the figure of Henry Wellcome, assuming the role of artist as collector, with studio as my repository. Making visible the unseen workings of studio and museum, the division between private and public worlds was dramatized in the handing over of an object from the public visitor side of the museum to the project’s private enclosure.
Co-curated with Penelope Curtis, commissioned by The Royal Academy. A critical reflection on what became an export franchise through the last century.
Co-curated with Penelope Curtis, commissioned by The Royal Academy. A critical reflection on what became an export franchise through the last century. By posing questions such as ‘what is British?’ and ‘what is Sculpture?’, we investigated the relationship of these propositions in the form of an exhibition. Set both physically and ‘emotionally’ within the Main Galleries and courtyard of the Royal Academy, the exhibition looked at British sculpture in an international context: at the ways in which Britain’s links with its Empire, continental Europe, South America and the United States, have all helped shape an art which at its best is truly international. It explored how Britain’s sculpture has repeatedly served as a barometer for national standing. The curatorial proposition was led by the sculptures themselves, in long sequences of interconnected spaces that encouraged diachronic pairings and ripostes. The exhibition gave voice to the nascent dialogue between the sculptures themselves thereby inviting visitors to pay fresh attention to many of the major works of the century. This combination of close scrutiny and comparison - where the eye is free to make connections across time and place – brought all the works up to the present within the Royal Academy’s galleries. The exhibition offered an interpretation of the problematics that have been played out in sculpture through the twentieth century.
I was commissioned by Penelope Curtis along with sculptors Tobias Rehberger and Joelle Tuerlinckx to make a response together to the question ‘what is Sculpture?’
I was commissioned by Penelope Curtis along with sculptors Tobias Rehberger and Joelle Tuerlinckx to make a response together to the question ‘what is Sculpture?’ Our answer was an exhibition some 18 months later: ‘The Object Sculpture’ at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.