I am a sculptor…of clay, of wood, of metal, of stone. And of just about any medium I can get my hands on. My journey from a young boy who loved to work on projects with his electro-mechanical engineer father to a sculptor of highly charged erotic-surreal art has been an exciting and deeply nuanced discovery of art as form and art as life for me.
As a high school student I built a working jet engine and won the top shop award. In between college semesters on the way to a degree in psychology, I successfully designed complex automation equipment for an assembly line manufacturer. Since then, on my own, I have been granted multiple U.S. utility patents and an intellectual patent on a super efficient internal combustion engine which is currently in the prototype stage. My father’s passion for all things mechanical is also deeply ingrained in me.
Following college, I co-founded a company called Aegis Reinforced Plastics in NYC. We fabricated many large fiberglass structures for well known artists. Among them: Robert Morris, Tom Doyle, Robert Smithson, Toshio Odate, David Novros, Ruth Vollmer, John Chamberlain, Bob Morrison and Eva Hesse. Most of these sculptures that we produced for these sculptors, are now worth millions of dollars each. Currently, many are in the permanent collections of many of the important art museums around the world such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney, The Guggenheim, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Tate in London, The Museum Wiesbaden in Germany, and many others.
During this time in NYC, I lived with Eva Hesse and worked as her personal fabricator for the last two years of her life. In many cases, as her health deteriorated, I fabricated entire pieces for her. It was during these two years that she and I created her large iconic fiberglass-rubber sculptures for which she is most famously known. The following links talk about our relationship.
After the passing of Eva Hesse, I wanted to become a full time sculptor in my own right. Not wanting to continue in the mold of Eva, I kept an active mind, seeking a sculptural theme which would capture my full attention and ignite my passion.
It was the early seventies; I somehow found myself manufacturing novelty smoking pipes. A friend commissioned me to make a series of penis pipes for him and they became the rage in his circle of friends. Before I knew it, men were asking me to make pipes showcasing female genitalia. As a consequence, I asked some of my female friends to pose for me in order to make my creations anatomically accurate. By the time I finished five portraits, I was hooked! I discovered that all women have very distinctly shaped vaginal lips unique to them only, just like fingerprints! The proverbial light bulb lit up in my head and my sculptural theme was found! I had finished about 15 portraits when a reporter from the Village Voice discovered my work and interviewed me. He put my phone number in the article (posted on my SEXUAL SURREALISM page) and I was deluged with volunteers eager to model for me. NYC in the seventies!!!!!!!
Not only had I found a theme, but I realized that I was sculpting ‘human flowers’. At the time, I found that I was doing something quite unique. I got a strong sense that the women posing for me felt a certain freedom with themselves. I was turning a taboo subject into a perfectly accepted art form which received broad positive appreciation. The public found my sculptures beautiful and liberating. Since I made each sculpture accurately and in the presence of the model posing, the portraits nearly came alive. I believe it was the first time women could compare themselves to others, in a 3 dimensional format, and see how different, unique and beautiful every woman’s ‘flower’ is. I was prominently displaying a relatively disregarded and unappreciated part of the female anatomy and making it important. It was then that I realized how few women see, and visually understand, that part of their own body, let alone recognize that the labia would be or could be, remotely regarded as beautiful!
My new art form became a vehicle for lively enlightened discussion and seemed to strip away the embarrassment typically generated by sexually charged conversation. I was going beyond sleazy photos and sloppy generalizations by making each sculpture anatomically correct. I eventually sculpted over one hundred female genital portraits and forty male ones. I mounted the respective two groups on panels and called them ‘Portraits’. It truly is an empowering experience to stand in front of the sculptures and see so many forms that are at once similar yet each unique, exotic and beautiful. ‘Portraits’ and ‘Leaping Vulva’ are on display at the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami and in many private collections throughout the world.
Around the start of this period I met Edie Solow, who saw potential in me as an artist. She quit her very lucrative job to become my art dealer. She financed us and together we opened a gallery called ‘Erotics’. The Gallery had moderate success at various locations throughout NYC. The first location was on the notorious Christopher St., then on 5th Ave. at 32nd St. and the third was in SoHo at the corner of Spring and Lafayette.
We also wholesaled inexpensive erotic ceramics. The most successful venture though, was developing an extensive jewelry line. In addition to my work, we sold antique erotica and contemporary erotic art by other artists. We were married and worked together for 18 years. She ran the gallery while I made over two hundred individual sculptures.
Edie still has the gallery in NYC and is my art representative on the East coast. The gallery is located at Union Square, link: http://www.eroticrarities.com/. She operates it under the name of Erotic Rarities. My work can also be seen there.
I have been a guest lecturer at the Wattis Distinguished Lecture Series of The San Francisco MOMA, at the University of Leeds and at the Tate in London. Today my work is on display in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, AT&T, Merrill Lynch and Malcolm Bricklin.
I am proud to be a University of Maine graduate and mention it often. I am happily married to my best friend of 35 years, Nan, with whom I live in Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica mountains in Southern California. At my age, every new day is a blessing and the start of a new adventure.