Oscar Tuazon’s architectural sculptures burst through gallery walls, block doorways and spread across rooms in any way the artist sees fit—providing that the gallerist gives him the carte blanche to do so. The freedom of working outdoors allows for a different dynamic. For his latest project, the Washington-born, US-and Paris-based Tuazon has been commissioned by New York City’s Public Art Fund to install three new sculptures in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a recently-constructed green space designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, a landscape architect whom Tuazon greatly admires. Tuazon says that he enjoys navigating the problems posed by working in a public space, not the least of which is the imposing Manhattan skyline in the distance. As we went to press, Tuazon was planning to construct the sculptures on-site, over a ten-day period in late June using two of his characteristic materials—concrete and trees. The exhibition, “People”, is due to run from 19 July to 26 April 2013. Tuazon spoke to The Art Newspaper in early June from a taxi to his studio in the Parisian suburb of Sèvres.
The Art Newspaper: How different is it creating work for a park as opposed to a gallery space?
Oscar Tuazon: Specific to this location: the skyline of Manhattan is incredible. The first thing I realised when I visited is that it’s pointless to try and do something massive because you’ll never be able to compete with the skyline. So, I decided to do something that was human in scale. And to me, trees are human scale. They’re bigger than people, but even on a monumental scale, I think a tree is still something that’s quite approachable because it has human qualities. The tree is also an interesting object in terms of its verticality. Like a totem pole, it doesn’t necessarily have to be massive to do something interesting to the space around it. Its verticality [makes it interesting]. These three pieces are trying to almost function as utilitarian objects within the park. They should be used.
How do you see people interacting with the sculptures?
There’s a fountain, a small room and a piece that comprises a basketball hoop and a handball wall. The basketball hoop will be a typical Parks Department basketball hoop, and I tried to replicate a handball wall so that it’s almost a found object. To me, these are very typical New York things. I hope the hoop is a piece that gets used and has a completely different function apart from being a sculpture. At the same time, you may look at that basketball hoop and the game played using it as somehow being part of the sculpture. Those boundaries are going to be lost or suspended temporarily. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is making objects that can function with a certain invisibility so people can use them without necessarily even thinking that they’re works of art. With the fountain, I think you’ll be able to play in it a little bit.
Read on at The Art Newspaper
2012 Whitney Biennial: Oscar Tuazon
In this video, Elisabeth Sherman, curatorial assistant for the 2012 Biennial, discusses Biennial artist Oscar Tuazon’s For Hire (2012).
Oscar Tuazon: My Mistake
ICA curator Charlotte Bonham-Carter introduces Oscar Tuazon’s exhibition ‘My Mistake’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, 4 June 2010 – 15 August 2010.
The Language of Less: Oscar Tuazon
Artist Oscar Tuazon, whose work is included in the “Now” portion of the MCA’s current exhibition, The Language of Less (Then and Now), discusses Jackie Ferrara’s “Stairway.”