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Archive for the 'Jud Nelson' Category

“I woke up this morning to see all of these photos of Fritz in the news, shot from every angle and thought, ‘I love you.’” The obituaries of Walter Mondale with their accompanying photos reminded sculptor Jud Nelson of his 1982 commission to carve a marble bust of Vice President Mondale for the U.S. Capitol.


Nelson continues,

We had a photographer take multiple photos of Mondale while I measured his head and face for reference in order to carve the bust. I had to concentrate on every angle of Mondale’s face, head and shoulders. My first step was to sculpt a clay model that I worked on for three months before Mondale returned to my studio. Well, much to my surprise, Mondale walks in as a much thinner
man. He had been dieting those three months and my reference photos of him were obsolete!

Mondale looks at the clay model and said “My neck doesn’t look like that!” I started pulling clay off of the model to represent the thinner Mondale and basically had to start over. Regardless, hefty or slender, I had to capture Mondale.

While working on the commission, Fritz and I spent a lot of time together and realized we shared many similarities – we had fathers that were preachers and we loved to fish.

Mondale periodically visited Nelson’s studio, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to model and check on the progress of his bust. At that time, Greenpoint was a crowded, working class neighborhood full of Polish immigrants. Mondale and Nelson would walk all over Greenpoint, going into stores and restaurants, talking to everybody they met. Mondale genuinely enjoyed people.

Mondale had an agenda for the sculpture, a smile on his face. As a minister’s kid, he knew a smile means “I love you”.

“It was an honor to know Walter Mondale and work with him on his bust.” Nelson adds, “May he rest in peace.”


Posted by Marla Dekker April 22, 2021 / 1 Comments Filed Under Jud Nelson, townhouse.bz Art, Uncategorized, Walter Mondale

The Apollo 5 space suit back from the moon and delivered to Jud Nelson’s studio to be worn by Astronaut Allan Bean as the model for Nelson’s sculpture, Man In Space.

It was during the final inspection of Hefty 2-Ply, Jud Nelson’s monumental, hyper-realist sculpture commissioned by the Walker Art Center, that the idea first came up. Nelson told Martin Friedman, the Director of the Walker, that he wanted to carve a weightless man. Two months later, Friedman called Nelson and said, “I’ve got the weightless commission for you. Give President Ford a call, he wants a Man In Space sculpture for his Presidential Library/Museum”. Ten minutes later, Nelson’s sculpture commission for Man In Space was being negotiated with President Ford.

Man In Space, completed in 1984, took two years to create, was 1.5 times life-size and weighed 3,000 pounds.

A studio visit by President Gerald Ford to see the progress of the sculpture, Man In Space, for his presidential library and museum.

Nelson set out to make the sculpture in clay and hard plaster. From the hard plaster, Nelson carved the sculpture with the final details. A mold was made of the finished hard plaster and cast in bronze. The bronze was heated to brush on an acid that gave it a natural white patina.

Jud Nelson in his studio working on the finishing of his sculpture, Man In Space.

The sculpture depicts an astronaut in a state of weightlessness emerging in space from the Extra Vehicular Activity hatch behind the spacecraft cockpit.

Jud Nelson with the sculpture, Man In Space, newly installed at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum, Grand Rapids, MI; 1984.

It represented an inspiring time for our country – the belief in science and the possibilities of the space program, with strong support from the government and a marriage of the arts to create a sculpture that is a tribute to our highest ideals, because we believed in a brighter future.
President Ford at the podium, Jud Nelson seated at left, at the the dedication for Man In Space at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, 1984.

See Jud Nelson’s artwork on townhouse.bz

Posted by Marla Dekker April 2, 2015 / 4 Comments Filed Under In the News, Jud Nelson, townhouse.bz Art

A Salon Exhibition Art, Objects and Furniture Exploring the Realm of Mid-Century Modernism

Featuring the townhouse.bz collection including Jud Nelson, Kamilla Talbot Piaget Studios, Kathy Urbina, Le Corbusier, Knoll, Milo Baughman, Pierre Jeanneret, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Aldo Tura, Fornascetti, Edward Wormley.

Opening Saturday, July 26th, 2014
From 6 to 9pm
Showing through September 6th, 2014
Thu & Sun 12 to 6pm
Fri & Sat 12 to 7:30pm
or by appointment

@ Guild Greene Gallery
281 Greene Avenue
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn 11238
718 398 6792

Visit Faux Real and explore historic Clinton Hill. Guild Greene’s building is the original 1890s headquarters and laboratory for Bristol Myers. Fine dining nearby includes Speedy Romeo, Marietta, Locando Vini & Olli and Aita.

Shown above: Holos/Series 23, No.1 (Wood Match) Roman Travertine & Red Slate; Jud Nelson, 1994

Contact Us for more information.

Townhouse.bz presents an exclusive collection of Jud Nelson sculptures and prints, from 1977 to today.

What started it all? Muskrats. They burrowed into an abstract Styrofoam sculpture that Nelson had installed along the edge of a Minneapolis lake. When the chagrined Nelson retrieved the pieces from his irate patron, it was a revelation to see how beautifully the muskrats had carved the Styrofoam to create their burrows. Thus began Nelson’s exploration into hyper-realist sculpture with Styrofoam.

Jud Nelson’s sculpture, Holos/Series 5, No 6 (Tea Bag) is among his earliest hyper-realist sculptures. Carved completely from Styrofoam, including the staple and the string, it is the 6th tea bag of the Holos/Series of tea bags in 1977. (pictured below)

Nelson developed his sculpture series of multiples of everyday objects with minute differences as a lesson in seeing to quote John Russell of the New York Times. Nelson challenges the viewer to examine everyday objects. His cool, minimalist presentation, exquisite attention to detail, and deadpan humor has art critics simultaneously comparing Nelson to Chuck Close, Michelangelo and Sol Lewitt.

The Holos/Series 6 No 6 (Popsicle), 1978, (pictured top) is one of Nelson’s early marble sculptures and marks his switch from Styrofoam to marble as his preferred medium. Nelson realized that marble offered him the granular control he needed to render the finest details. The Popsicle is carved from the same block of Carrara marble statuario as his icnonic sculpture, Hefty 2-Ply, commissioned by the Walker Art Center in 1979.

Nelson’s Still Life Study (Peanuts), 1983, represents the addition of stones of color to his body of work. The life-sized peanut shell is travertine marble and the peanuts are honey-colored marble, both found in rubble outside the San Marco Cathedral, Venice, Italy. Always resourceful in his use of materials, Nelson frequently repurposes discarded stones for his art.

The Block Buster Series (Bear), 1980, is from Nelson’s later exploration of colossal blow-ups of animal crackers. Conceived as a project for the UN’s Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza with Linda Macklowe, the curator of the sculpture garden, a number of animal crackers were sculpted as maquettes for full-size sand-cast bronzes.

Limited Edition, Signed Prints
In addition to Nelson’s sculptures, townhouse.bz and Nelson have collaborated to offer Portrait of Wonder Bread 1, 2 and 3. Limited edition prints of photographs of Nelson’s Carrara statuario marble sculptures HOLOS/Series 7, 1977. Coolly elegant and minimalist with deep, matte blacks and greys on premium, matte paper, the prints feature the breathtaking detail of Nelson’s sculptures. The Portrait of Wonder Bread series is a juxtaposition of the dispassionate study of bread with the imprint of the artist’s hand on each piece of bread.

Never simply Super Realistic, his work always questions the reality of physical existence, and appeals to some alienated modern sense of the existentially absurd… Kim Levin, Arts Magazine, October 1981

Click here to see more of Jud Nelson’s work.
Contact townhouse.bz with inquiries about Jud Nelson’s artwork.

Joan Mondale visiting Jud Nelson in his Brooklyn studio. Jud is leaning on his marble sculpture, Hefty 2-Ply, which is almost finished and ready for unveiling at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 1980.

Learning of Joan Mondale’s passing this week brought back lots of memories for Jud Nelson. He was recommended by Vice President Mondale and his wife, Joan, to carve the official bust of Mondale for the Capital building. Carving Mondale’s bust involved a lot of time with Fritz and Joan for sittings. It was a heady time – Joan was nicknamed Joan of Art for her advocacy for the arts and she supported contemporary artists in many unique ways throughout her life in politics and government. The Mondale’s art collection included Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Edward Ruscha and Frank Stella.

We salute Joan’s life and her contributions to the arts.

Are you interested in Jud Nelson’s sculpture?

Posted by Marla Dekker February 6, 2014 / No Comments Filed Under In the News, Jud Nelson, townhouse.bz Art

The Hefty 2-Ply sculpture by Jud Nelson travels with the Lifelike show from the New Orleans Museum of Art to open on February 24th, 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Are you interested in Jud Nelson’s sculpture?

Posted by Marla Dekker January 31, 2013 / No Comments Filed Under Jud Nelson, townhouse.bz Art

Portrait of Wonder Bread, Jud Nelson, travertine marble

A Pharoah, Madonna, nude, nymphs, Aphrodite, schoolgirl and Wonder Bread work together to make a compelling mashup of portraits.

A fun visual interplay happens with this group of portraits. All of the human images (deities included) cast a downward glance in the presence of a humble slice of bread. The marble sculpture of the bread is no less detailed or lovingly rendered than any of the human subjects. It begs one to wonder about our self absorption with the human image and how it has captured our imaginations over and over again.

The New Yorker has a wonderful article by Peter Schjeldahl about the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and founder Alfred Barnes philosophy for presenting his collection…”Barnes juxtaposed pictures of wildly varying age, style, and quality – a great Tintoretto portrait under a perfunctory Renoir still-life next to a Rousseau jungle scene – and they goad one another to self-asserting eloquence.”

So don’t be shy – group your art and let the conversations begin.

Are you interested in Jud Nelson’s sculpture?

Posted by Marla Dekker December 7, 2012 / 1 Comments Filed Under Jud Nelson, townhouse.bz Art

Portrait of Candy Hearts by Jud Nelson, 1984, carrara marble.

“Hey Jud, is the Charmin bigger?” Not missing a beat, Jud shoots back, “Charmin Ultra – now 10% larger!” Chuck Close laughs out loud. We all join in the laughter while wandering through Jud Nelson’s 1998 show at the Fischbach Gallery. Aside from Chuck Close’s joke, our reaction to Mr. Nelson’s work is complete and utter amazement.

Portrait of Toilet Paper, by Jud Nelson, carrara statuario marble

The Charmin is Mr. Nelson’s portrait of a roll of toilet paper, carved from carrara statuario marble. The sculpting is so masterful that no detail is missing – the texture of the paper, the rolls, the perforations all add up to a breathtakingly hyper-realist sculpture of the most basic of everyday objects. Roberta Smith of the NYTimes describes Jud’s work as “the Faberge of Post-Minimalism”.

Top: Portrait of Wonder Bread, travertine marble; bottom: Cereal Cup, carrara statuario marble and travertine; by Jud Nelson

Other marble hyper-realistic sculptures above: leather gloves seemingly more supple than any produced in Italy, a series of Pies, a series of Milk Bone Biscuits, – the list goes on.

Lifelike, the upcoming realism show at the Walker Art Center will feature Mr. Nelson’s Hefty 2-Ply sculpture carved from carrara statuario.

Walker curator Siri Engberg discusses Hefty 2-Ply in the St. Paul Pioneer Press “It’s a sculpture made in the late ’70s, and it’s completely carved from marble. It follows the techniques and traditions you might see on the drapery on a Bernini. But, of course, it’s the most ordinary object possible. And from a distance, it really does look like a Hefty 2-Ply garbage bag. As we get closer, we see the veining in the marble, the carefully carved folds, and suddenly it becomes something quite precious.”

A bronze cast of the Hefty 2-Ply sculpture, currently in a private collection. Environmental sculpture – whimsical and monumental all at once.

Mr. Nelson’s recent work pushes his concept of hyper-realism by enlarging the scale of small objects – giant Cheerios – large enough for a toddler to sit on or giant animal crackers that initially appear as abstract objects, and yet, no detail is missing.

Notably among many exhibitions and commissions, Jud’s work has exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the United States Capital, Washington, DC.

Are you interested in Jud Nelson’s sculpture?

Jud / Collage, 1982, by Chuck Close
Pulp paper collage on canvas
96 x 72″, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA

Posted by Marla Dekker February 9, 2012 / 2 Comments Filed Under In the News, Jud Nelson, townhouse.bz Art, What Is...

Townhouse is designed, written and produced by Dekker Babian. Townhouse is located in Brooklyn, NY. All text and photos © 2019.