Rochester Public Art by Richard MargolisAn Inventory of Rochester NY's Landmark Sculpture, Monuments, and Memorials


Playground by Tony Smith

Location: Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue
Rochester, NY (view Google map)
Size: 64 x 64 x 128 Inches
Material: Mild steel
Dated: 1962 - 66

Description: Open steel cube that invites small people to climb on or crawl through.

Caption: "Tony Smith mixed art and math; for him, it was the most natural thing in the world.
Smith suffered from tuberculosis as a child. To avoid spreading the disease, he spent hours by himself, making buildings and miniature cities from small medicine boxes. He put the boxes, cubes and other polyhedra, together in different ways for his creations.
Smith became an architect and painter. When a serious car accident laid him up, he returned to his childhood pastime of making sculpture from boxes. From there, he went on to produce some of the most striking works of monumental outdoor sculpture of the 20th century."

"Once in a rare while you come across a public sculpture that so transforms the space its in that it takes your breath away, and you return again and again to see if surprise and delight vanish with familiarity. Tony Smith's "Light Up" (1971) in front of the Seagram Building (in New York City) only gets better with repeated visits. Recently, on a hot summer weekend in New York, I found several men quietly photographing it from all angles and a group of three twenty-something adults discussing it enthusiastically. It was not their first visit either."
By Harriet F. Senie, in Sculpture Magazine, November 1998.




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