The Grammy Award-winning musician Herb Alpert has his sculpture on display in a park on the west side of Manhattan, near Lincoln Center, through mid-April.
Alpert, who paints and sculpts as well as plays the trumpet, calls the bronze sculptures “Spirit Totems”; they were trucked from his studio in Malibu, Calif., to Manhattan.
Alpert said the sculptures, which are bronze with a black patina, “began life as 23-inch, hand-sculpted clay forms. Gigantic-sized incarnations were then shaped by hand as well before being molded and cast in bronze.” Alpert began working on this series of sculpture—whose aesthetic has been described as “frozen smoke”– in 2000; he compares the spontaneity of their design with his improvisational work as a jazz musician.
The sculptures are installed in Dante Park, a triangular parcel of land near Lincoln Center, at Broadway, Columbus Avenue, and West 63rd Street; Alpert said he “fell in love with Dante Park because it is an open thoroughfare where the sculptures are visible with a connection to Jazz at Lincoln Center.”
On a visit to New York, Alpert said he painted and sculpted and blew “the horn every day. I’m a right-brain type of guy.”
He said he began painting and sculpting after traveling around the world as a musician in the 1960’s. “I saw museums, got inspired, picked up some canvas and started painting. I had a good time for myself. Someone saw the paintings, asked if I wanted to show them—the rest is history,” he said.
His artistic influence have included the Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo, as well as the sculptors Henry More, Auguste Rodin and Michelangelo.
Alpert–who won his ninth Grammy Award earlier this year for best pop instrumental album with Steppin’ Out, featuring his wife, the singer Lani Hall–is also a major philanthropist in the arts world. The Herb Alpert Foundation, founded in the early 1980’s, supports music and arts education, jazz studies and organizations that work toward creating a compassionate and empathetic society; it has given over $125 million in grants. Among those it has supported are artists Christian Marclay, Carrie Mae Weems and Cai Guo-Qiang, musician Vijay Iyer and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.
Alpert received a National Medal of Arts from President Obama last summer, in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the arts.
He said his grammar school in Los Angeles had a music appreciation class where he picked up the trumpet at the age of eight. “I fell in love with it. It was talking to me because I was very shy. It really changed my life, I think all kids can have that same opportunity,” he said.
“When young people have that experience they become more responsible citizens, they get in touch with their own uniqueness. If they do that and can empathize with others, it’s a win-win,” he added.
Source: Forbes Business