Bertoia in New York City
Featuring the Sonambient Barn Collection Concert
New York Trip Dec. 2019
My trip to New York was fruitful. I was able to visit several galleries who carry Bertoia works including Jonathan Boos and Lost City Arts. Jonathan Boos tends to get high quality Bertoia pieces and knows Bertoia from Detroit days. Lost City Arts, who recently moved to 200 Lexington Avenue, now has an entire room dedicated to Harry Bertoia. If you are looking to purchase, or just looking, you really must stop in to see their fabulous collection. Jim Elkind has been supportive of the Harry Bertoia Foundation from day one, and also often loans Bertoia sculptures to exhibitions, thus is helpful to our cause in many ways. Many thanks to Jim and his manager Martin for all their assistance over the years. They currently hold several gongs, a gorgeous dandelion, the Stemmons family fountain pieces, numerous tonals, large undulating bushes, and many pleasing smaller pieces.
Sonambient at Sotheby’s
The main purpose for the trip was for me to play the Sonambient Barn collection of sounding sculptures which were displayed at Sotheby’s for ten days. Sotheby’s is our agent in seeking a museum home for the 60 sculptures of the original Sonambient Barn collection of Pennsylvania. Although many refer to all sounding sculptures as Sonambient, the term as the artist intended actually referred only to the Sonambient Barn sounding sculptures and the sound environment created by them. We felt that the best way to find a taker for the sculptures was by displaying them in their full glory. It will be a private sale when we find the right museum. Several museum directors attended.
As I walked into the Manhattan Sotheby’s seven story building, the doors were open to the Sonambient gallery and I unwittingly let out a gasp. It was so beautiful to see the sculptures in their elegant display in Sotheby’s most reverent gallery. The 30’ ceiling, the hardwood floor, the U shaped arrangement and the artistic array of the sculptures themselves moved me to tears. I hadn’t seen the whole collection together since its time in the original barn in Barto, PA. The tonals were relieved to be free of their restrictive crates and it was a joy to touch and bring life to them.
The concerts, played every day that week, were completely magical. The singing bars, the resonant gong and the various vertical tonals made a wonderful cacophony of sound. Being visible from the front door brought in some audience members who knew nothing of Bertoia and were astonished at the unusual orchestra. Many who were there for the numerous other auctions held that week were excited to see the assemblage. Various museum officials were eager to see and hear the sculptures in person. The lucky children who accompanied their parents likely experienced something they will remember for a lifetime, by the looks on their faces.
The week passed too quickly and it was back to the Utah office for me. We are working with a couple of interested museums and will keep you posted when anything specific occurs.