Touchable Sculpture

05.10.13

Harry Bertoia, Mr. Beau Jangles

The Daily Pic: The artist-designer made sound sculpture that responds to touch.

This is “Sonambient Sculpture”, made by the great sculptor and designer Harry Bertoia in 1977, after this once-famous artist had started falling from favor. I saw this table-top work, about three feet wide and made from “berylium copper”, in the booth of Lost City Arts at the Collective Design Fair now on in New York. It’s a lovely piece of late-modern formalism – except that it’s more than that. Like many of Bertoia’s pieces, it’s also an “instrument”, of sorts, responding to your touch with a lovely chiming jangle. (Click on the image to see and hear it in action). It must partly be about resisting the “don’t touch” message that most sculpture comes with.

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