Rafael Barrios selected to install mega sculpture in New York

March 2 – June 30, 2012

The Fund for Park Avenue Project
The Fund of Park Avenue, The Park Avenue Malls and the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation, provide a unique opportunity to present sculptures to the public on New York City’s upper eastside. For this spring they have chosen Venezuela sculptor Rafael Barrios to show his monumental work. The installation will start the night of March 2nd.

Located between the area of 51st and 67th streets, from the Waldorf Astoria to The Armory Building, the ten large scale sculptures will be installed previous to the opening of the art fair The Armory Show (March 8 – 12 Pier 92).

Since 2000, well known artists have been selected for the temporary exhibits, among them: Will Ryman, Robert Indiana, Manolo Valdes, Tom Otterness. Louise Nevelson, Yoshitomo Nara (2010) and Fernando Botero. More info about this project at www.fundforparkavenue.org.

Rafael Barrios (1947 – )
Rafael Barrios was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and raised in Venezuela. He lives between Miami, Paris and Caracas. During an artistic career of almost 40 years, Barrios has participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions in some of the most important art centers in the United States, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. His distinctive works are found in prominent museum and institutional collections such, as the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; the Sofía Imber Contemporary Art Museum and the Galeria de Arte Nacional, both in Caracas, Venezuela. His sculptures are also found in important private collections such as Gustavo and Patricia Cisneros, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis of Germany.

Barrios’ diverse work includes the creation of large-scale sculptures, many destined for public spaces. He models virtual volume to monumental dimensions in these urban contexts, transforming and magnifying forms in space into a new visual experience. He has received numerous commissions for works to be integrated into important urban spaces such as Coca-Cola International Headquarters in New York; Philippe Stark’s Murano Grande building and the Sunny Isles Park in Miami, Florida; Fontanilla Park in Palos de la Frontera, Spain; the Universidad de los Andes, Merida, Venezuela; the headquarters of Procter & Gamble, CorpBanca, Banco Mercantil and the Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad Simon Bolivar, all in Caracas, Venezuela.

Artist Statement
Rafael Barrios’ work has been characterized from the beginning by the alteration of the observer’s perceptive mental state, manipulating form with the intention of dislocating our convictions about what we believe we see. Barrios creates a territory where the laws of gravity seem not to exist, one in which objects rise freely over each other; where volume appears balanced in space. In doing so, he confounds our normative beliefs about what is possible and questions our ties to that which is terrestrial.

Barrios has been recognized as one of the most innovative contemporary Latin American artists. Since the 1970’s he has continued to perfect his unique concept of Virtualism, a movement that he describes as “the creation of visually participative pieces by the creation of dislocating events in our perception. Volume is virtually modeled and modified in form, depending on distance, shifting with the position of the observer and the changes in light throughout the day.

Location
The 10 sculptures will be installed between 51st Street (corner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel) and 67th St. (corner of The Armory.) A special vernissage will be held at The Armory Show in New York (March 8 – 12, 2012). Robert C. Morgan, internationally renowned critic, curator, artist, writer, art historian, poet, and lecturer critic, is writing an essay about Rafael Barrios’ career for a book to be launched this spring.