The Bennington Legacy: Willard Boepple, Isaac Witkin and James Wolfe
The Surrealists had a fabulous notion of a secret corridor that could take you right through Paris, from building to building, without encumbering itself with the street. In a way, New York has its own corporate version of that fantasy: the lobbies of trading towers that, whether through altruism or planning obligation, the public is entitled to traverse. One curatorially-inclined causeway is Tower 49 Gallery, comprising the lobby, sky lobby (stunning bird’s eyes of the Rockefeller Center by the way) and exterior spaces of 12 East 49th Street, a recently upgraded 1980s tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in the Kato International portfolio. Its exhibition program, directed by Ms. Ai Kato, currently features the stunningly installed “Bennington Legacy: Sculpture by Willard Boepple, Isaac Witkin and James Wolfe”. As guest curator Karen Wilkin explains in an accompanying catalogue, Bennington – both town and gown – formed a nexus of sculptural experimentation for several generations: both Wolfe and Boepple (who was actually born in Bennington) served as assistants to South African native Witkin. Witkin’s sole work on view is his magnificent Shogun, 1968, a welded steel sculpture placed outside the glass and steel building. The sculpture is as solid and flexible as you’d expect a warrior to be: the squat ziggurat to the right feels like it could fold and store in the half-section of cone to the left in a feat of origami.
The Bennington Legacy remains on view through October 29 at 12 East 49th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenue, open weekdays 9am to 6pm