Urs Fischer’s Cartoonish Monument and David LaChapelle’s Photo Collages Cattycorner on Park Avenue

A 23-foot tall, 35,000 pound bright yellow teddy bear slouching against a colossal desk lamp isn’t what you’d expect to find in the plaza of one of the most famed office buildings on Park Avenue, the Seagram Building. The monumental bronze sculpture by Urs Fischer, Untitled (Lamp/Bear) (2005-2006), was installed in midtown this past April by Christie’s to promote the work being sold in their May 11th Post-War & Contemporary Art auction. (It sold for $6,802,500.)

Urs Fischer's Untitled (Lamp/Bear) at Seagram Building Plaza

Urs Fischer is represented by Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and was recently the subject of a major survey of his work at the New Museum. Fischer was one of the highlights of the 2006 Whitney Biennial and is probably remembered most for an exhibition in 2007 titled ‘You’ in which he literally broke new ground at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise creating a 38-foot-by-30-foot crater, eight feet deep, that nearly extended to the walls of the gallery.

Christie’s compared Untitled (Lamp/Bear) to Jeff Koons’ large-scale sculptures of puppies and balloon dogs, but I think this work is much closer in the tradition of Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures and monuments of ordinary objects. Urs Fischer’s Sculpture Untitled (Lamp/Bear) (2005-6) will be on display at the Seagram Plaza at 375 Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street until September 30, 2011.

Urs Fischer's Untitled (Lamp/Bear) at Seagram Building Plaza

If you head one block North to 54th Street and Park Avenue you’ll find new work by photographer David LaChapelle in the lobby of the Lever House. The exhibition, From Darkness To Light, is primarily made up of photo collages. The main piece in the show, LaChapelle’’s Raft of Illusion: Raging Toward Truth, is the artist’s take on Gericault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19). LaChapelle created his epic allegory using large-scale photographs that he has taken of friends and models, and staged a tableau by cutting and tearing individual elements, adding depth with layered sections, and reassembling them into a composition that clearly reveals the artist’s hand at work. Photographs are used as sculptural elements in Chain of Life, 2011, and applied to the windows in Adam Swimming Under a Microscope: Plague of an Ancient City and Eve Swimming Under a Microscope: Plague of an Ancient City, 2011.

Raft of Illusion: Raging Toward Truth, 2011 by David LaChapelle at the Lever House, installation view

Raft of Illusion: Raging Toward Truth, 2011 by David LaChapelle at the Lever House, detail

David LaChapelle’’s career as an artist began with his hero, Andy Warhol, who offered him his first professional photography job at Interview Magazine in the early 1980s.  Working at Interview Magazine, LaChapelle began photographing some of the most famous celebrities of the times. He has photographed personalities as diverse as Tupac Shakur, Madonna, Eminem, Pamela Anderson, Lil’ Kim, Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, and Britney Spears, to name just a few. He is most recognized for elaborate sets and styling that position his famous subjects into dream-like situations.

Adam Swimming Under a Microscope: Plague of an Ancient City, 2011 by David LaChapelle at the Lever House, installation view

David LaChapelle From Darkness To Light is on display at the Lever House at 390 Park Avenue at 54th Street through September 2, 2011.

Both the Seagram Building and the Lever House are owned by mega art collector Aby Rosen.

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