When we think of art we usually think of paintings or sculptures in bronze or marble of female or male nudes or perhaps even a mobile like Alexander Calder. But art has a wide variety and it can be for museums or for your back yard. For instance, the welder at Annapolis Railings and Stairs not only makes practical items like railings and stairs but also a variety of art pieces that are quite beautiful and are affordable.
There are many ways art can be incorporated into metal work. Even on a security door, it can not only be decorative, but can be artistic as well. Or something like a pergola can be not only utilitarian but can be made to be quite beautiful. In a similar vein, the Getty Museum building and grounds in Los Angeles is as much a piece of art as the pieces it houses.
Wide Variety – Traditional
There are a variety of metal sculpture in museums. Some of the best known are the pieces by Michelangelo, Rodin, Degas and Lachaise and slightly less well known are the exquisite animal sculptures of Barye. Of course, there are many other wonderful sculptors as well.
To Modern or Avant Garde
Some sculpture isn’t a person or an animal. At the Baltimore Museum of Art there is an outdoor sculpture garden. Some of the pieces look more like they were left over from a construction project. Others suggest human form but don’t represent it in the more lifelike way that Rodin did. An excellent example is The Prophet by Gargallo.
Then there are the tensile structures which are a lot of fun. There is a good example of one outside the Hirschhorn Museum on the Mall in Washington DC. It is made up of metal tubes and metal wires or cables. The wires run through the tubes and ultimately fastened back to itself or themselves. If you cut the wires the whole thing would collapse.
Actually, this type of sculpture was presaged by a Polish Christmas custom. Before the tradition of the Christmas tree spread from Germany, the peasants used to make elaborate Christmas decorations by taking different lengths of straw and putting string through the hollow tubes of the straw and creating a 3D design held rigid by the straw but held together by the string. They were quite beautiful.
Art Goes Down the Toilet
Then you have the strange sculpture. Although not metal, one of the first was the Dadaist sculpture of Marcel Duchamp which was also a bit of a practical joke and a comment on what is art. He took a urinal, laid it on its back, signed it and dated it and called it Fountain. Weird or dumb you might say but it is in a museum and is worth a lot of money. You need to think outside the box and then come up with a good story or rational to sell what you have created. Doing the same thing as everyone else unless you are exceptional won’t get you noticed. Even if you are exceptional, you might not get noticed if you are doing what everyone else is doing. The names we remember are often the ones who introduced change and weren’t always accepted immediately.