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Steven Siegel Edit Profile

sculptor

Steven Siegel, American sculptor. Recipient Pratt grant, 1977-1978, Building Arts grant National Endowment for Arts, 1990, fellowship Dutchess County Arts Council, 1992-1993, Artist's grant Connemara Conservancy, 1994-1995, Arts Fund grant American Scandinavian Foundation, Denmark, 1996-1997. School board member Red Hook (New York ) Central School District, since 1995.

Background

Siegel, Steven was born on November 27, 1953 in White Plains, New York, United States. Son of Stuart Samuel and Louise (Slotsky) Siegel.

Education

Bachelor, Hampshire College, 1976; Master of Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, 1978.

Career

He is noted for his environmental artwork, particularly using recycled materials such as newspapers, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles. After graduating from Hampshire College (1976) in Amherst, Massachusetts, he received a Masters of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute (1978). Steven Siegel's early interest in geology was stimulated after reading Basin and Range by John McPhee.

The question of deep time was something he needed to explore. Sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, in 1983 he visited the same places where Dr. James Hutton, a medical doctor turned geologist, made his discoveries in Scotland. The geologic processes that were at work in the present were the same processes at work in the distant past.

The rock formations in Scotland were the result of these processes at work over millions of years. The experience had resonated with him and is reflected in his artwork. Siegel's first attempt with newspaper structures was for the Snug Harbor Sculpture Festival on Staten Island, New York.

He noticed that the largest landfill in the United States was located on Staten Island. At the Fresh Kills Landfill, garbage is buried under mounds of earth. Newspapers will remain intact and readable for long periods of time.

Here, Siegel thought that humans were creating a "new geology" with the human waste being buried under mounds of earth. Thus, his first attempts in this kind of sculpture were titled "New Geology #1" and "New Geology #2," both were constructed in 1990. Since the sculpture has been allowed to be overgrown with vegetation, "New Geology #2" remains intact and the newsprint is still able to be read.

In the fall of 2002, "Scale" was erected at the Abington Art Center, in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. 20,000 pounds of recycled newspapers piled layer upon layer over a wooden framework. It stood twenty-two feet above the ground.

"Scale" was thought to be able to withstand the weather conditions for 15 years. In October 2006, the sculpture began to collapse. By April 2009, it further crumbled.

There are both natural processes and processes related to human activity that is going on. We can begin with the natural processes of tree growth sustained by the nutrients from the earth. But, it is human activity which cuts down the trees and where paper is made from the wood pulp.

Our culture is expressed in newsprint that is printed on the paper. The newspaper is read and hopefully, recycled. Finally, the last act of human culture, the monument of newspaper is erected, represented by Scale.

Nature now has its way, physical processes of erosion immediately go to work, and the structure inevitably starts to erode. Since the structure has organic content, biologic systems erupt in the structure to begin decay. Finally, the structure meets its ultimate destiny being incorporated back into the earth to form soil, the nutrient for living plants.

This seems to be a sustainable cycle surrounding Steven Siegel's Scale.

Works

  • Other Work

    • One-man shows include Soho Center for Visual Arts, New York, 1979, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, 1981, Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1986, Unison Arts and Learning Center, New Paltz, New York, 1992, Richmond Center Art Gallery, Windsor, Connecticut, 1993. Group exhibitions include Thorpe Intermedia Gallery, New York, 1979, 82, Drawing Center, New York City, 1980, 82, Hampshire College, 1985, Scottsdale (Arizona) Center for Arts, 1989, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey, 1992, Paramount Center for Arts, Peekskill, New York, 1992, State University of New York, New Paltz, 1992, University Virginia, 1992, Barrett House Galleries, poughkeepsie, New York, 1993, Marist College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, 1995, Uison Arts Center, New Paltz, New York, 1996, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1996. Contributor articles to professional journals.

Membership

School board member Red Hook (New York ) Central School District, since 1995.

Connections

Married Alice Anne Linder, September 7, 1983. Children: Leah, Ben.

father:
Stuart Samuel Siegel

mother:
Louise (Slotsky) Siegel

spouse:
Alice Anne Linder

children:
Leah Siegel

Ben Siegel