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-   -   Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits (http://www.sculpture.net/community/showthread.php?t=7199)

Ries 03-02-2008 02:00 PM

Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Big brou-ha-ha in So-Cal.
Oldenburg was commissioned to do a big piece for the Disney Music Center in LA.
Evidently after doubling the budget, its still not done, everybody is pointing the finger at everybody else, and Oldenberg wants to spend $350,000 on an engineer just to analyse the problem and suggest solutions-

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,3755190.story

jOe~ 03-02-2008 02:18 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Quote:

The suit accuses Oldenburg and Van Bruggen of negligence, breach of contract and unjust enrichment and adds an allegation of fraud against Carlson & Co.,
"Unjust enrichment", can't get that phrase out of my mind. Makes me think of Exxon.

fritchie 03-02-2008 05:12 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
For once I don't blame the lawyers. Based solely on the LA Times article it seems the Center and its staff did about everything reasonable to get this project done. Probably hubris on the part of Gehry and advancing age and illness of the artists are the main causes.

Ries 03-03-2008 10:07 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
I think there is more going on here than is explained in this little article.
Carlson, the fabricator, is one of the biggest and most experienced art fabricators in the world, and have extensive experience both in actually making art, and in dealing with prima donna artists.

So how the budget had to double, and then the piece is still falling apart is beyond me.

Although Dennis Oppenheim is actually having a similar problem with one of his pieces, also fabricated by Carlson- the budget keeps going up, the piece is behind schedule, and so on.

I have been involved in the fabrication of a good 20 plus projects of large scale sculpture, none in this budget range, but all for a good chunk of money, with required drawings in advance, engineering, and similar issues as this- and I just dont see how its rocket science- you figure out what you are going to build, engineer it, and get bids, before you start, and then you build it- so my suspicion is that the problem here is personality, not mechanics.

grommet 03-03-2008 02:46 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
I too proceed with the assumption that if I can imagine it, it can exist. Granted my imaginings have remained under 12 feet tall, but it's worked so far for this non-engineer. Is it possible the imaginings have exceeded the engineering? How can that be?

fritchie 03-03-2008 06:08 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grommet (Post 53895)
I too proceed with the assumption that if I can imagine it, it can exist. Granted my imaginings have remained under 12 feet tall, but it's worked so far for this non-engineer. Is it possible the imaginings have exceeded the engineering? How can that be?

Look at the Space Station. Yes, if it can be imagined it can be built, but sometimes at highly escalating cost. On the other hand the two little Mars Rover scooting robots have been scooting for something like 4 years now, taking great pictures and making various weather observations. They had a design lifetime of something like a month.

The Space Station involves something like 6 - 10 principal national contributors. The Rovers were designed by one team, built by another, launched by a third, and are being tracked and guided/talked to by more or less the design and launch groups. All requiring close coordination, but much simpler overall.

Merlion 03-04-2008 02:37 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ries (Post 53889)
I think there is more going on here than is explained in this little article. ...

... my suspicion is that the problem here is personality, not mechanics.

This info is from the blog linked below.
"At the bottom of things, I would guess, is the fact that Coosje van Bruggen has cancer. Were my own wife in the same situation, everything about my work would be affected."
Tough time for Coosje van Bruggen, Claes Oldenbury, and The Lost Angeles Music Center

And this is picture of the maquette of the 'Collar and Bow sculpture, taken from the link below.


Tie Goes to the Dumpster

GlennT 03-04-2008 07:43 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
I think where everyone ran into trouble was when it was decided to advance this project beyond the maquette stage.

evaldart 03-04-2008 08:01 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
I like Oldenberg, he's not one of my heros, but once upon a time he changed art history. So he has friends in very high places and the world continues to yearn for his humongous one-liners...none of these mean anything to me anymore, but I think very fondly back to the days of deflated vinyl toilets and drumsets and the pictures in my mind of him up all night with needle and thread in a cold-water flat in SoHo. Liek Ries said, I suspect this to be a battle of ego's and the throwing-around of seven-figure waistlines.

marblecutter 03-04-2008 09:13 AM

Sculptor as One-Man-Band
 
1 Attachment(s)
Many sculptors are getting way too much attention and entangling themselves in a web of contracts that they can not timely fulfill. Two examples: The fiberglass Alligators in the center of El Paso; the Denver Bronco in Colorado, both by Luis Jimenez; The Don Juan de Oņate equestrian at the El Paso airport by John and Ethan Houser, were all more than Ten Years Late. I was in China in 2006 for the 8th Changchun Sculpture Symposium. 47 monumental sculptures were completed in a matter of Months. All the metal and stone sculptures were done within the 40-day duration of the symposium and all the clay renditions were reproduced in fiberglass to be exhibited in the closing ceremonies. Those fiberglass figures were painted in the patina of the sculptor's choice. In a matter of months, more than thirty fiberglass sculptures were turned into durable bronze.
There is a contractual agreement between the sculptor and the person commissioning the work. The sculptor can file a law suit if the commissioner fails to pay in a timely manner and the sculptor can be held accountable for work that is delayed or not delivered at the agreed time.
Sculptors should tap into the pool of other sculptors who can help to meet deadlines and achieve the final goals. Thereby reaching a happy medium that benefits more sculptors than the originating few. Many sculptors work as a One-Man-Band or husband and wife band. When they get into contracts that require a whole Orchestra, they should perform accordingly.
A good example is Cristo and Jeannne-Claude. They get a whole community involved and employ the necessary talent.:)

dssoup 03-05-2008 10:31 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Though Carlson & Co. has worked with many Artists, they have not fabricated any projects for Dennis Oppenheim.

Ries 03-05-2008 11:20 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
The simple authority with which Mr. Soup says that leads me to believe he is associated with Carlson, and knows of what he speaks.

I was evidently mistaken about Oppenheim- but now I cant find the article I read about an Oppenheim sculpture that is not finished, and is also entangled in lawsuits.

I will have to dig around a bit, as I thought it was being built by Carlson.

Personally, I generally like Oldenburg sculptures, and feel they are far from "one liners".
The best of them are much more than just enlargements of everyday objects- I particularly like the lipstick tank at yale, the latticework baseball bat in Chicago, the swiss army knife ship, the balancing tools in germany, the screwarch in the netherlands- all of which take objects and give them life, taking them much farther than "still".

And in person, even his more literal pieces tend to sing.

Maybe someday somebody will write an investigative journalism piece about the travails of this piece- I can understand how right now, given lawsuits pending, nobody wants to talk on the record.

fused 03-05-2008 02:55 PM

Re: buoy named sue
 
It's obvious that commissions built by people other than the ARTIST always drive up the cost in all ways, but it's still hard to fathom that $2.2 million bucks couldn't get this project brought to a satisfactory conclusion. I'm wondering if the additional costs reported are directly related to the increase in scale of the original idea from 35 feet to 65 feet? Plus $600,000 for additional engineering?
Holy Crap!
:eek:
thankyou for the additional links Merlion

GlennT 03-05-2008 03:49 PM

Re: buoy named sue
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fused (Post 54037)
Plus $600,000 for additional engineering?

Simple engineering equation:

$15,000 actual engineering costs
$45,000 liability insurance
$550,000 villa in the Isle of Capri the engineer has been eyeing
__________________________________________________ _____

$600,000

Ries 03-05-2008 04:00 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Obviously Glenn has never hired an engineer.
Villas? They think in terms of new pocket pencil protectors.

The european guys Oldenburg wants to hire are ridiculously overpriced, its true.
But there are several really great engineers out there, who have lots of experience with sculpture, who are totally honest, reasonably priced, and whose designs are possible to build on a budget.
I have worked with several I would, and have, trusted my life and my assets to.


In fact, usually the problems that cause sculptures to come in over budget on behind schedule are due to the ARTIST, not the engineer.
Artists tend to have unrealistic ideas of what materials can and cannot do, especially as the artist gets more successful and the project gets bigger.

Working with a good engineer, you optimise the design so that BOTH structure and aesthetics are given attention.

Its easy to snipe at big projects- but they are complicated, and its impossible to do em all by your lonesome- you must learn to delegate authority, find and trust people like engineers and fabricators, and then learn enough about the process so that you use other people to make your art better, and not let them make it worse.
This takes time, experience, and a lot of energy- something that is undoubtedly hard to do if you are dying of cancer.

GlennT 03-05-2008 04:58 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Actually Ries, I have hired an engineer, more than once in fact. My background was as an architectural designer and construction manager before I discovered my artistic abilities.

Now, I'm wondering, have you ever paid an engineer $600,000 for a project? How about $60,000? I could get a lot of engineering calculated for $60,000.

evaldart 03-05-2008 06:16 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
There is , as there should be, a point where something is either too large to be art anymore - or too small to be art anymore. I suppose it has to be up to each artist to define these parameters not only for his own work but for the work he happens to have to address in general. Things too big, expensive and complicated too easily resemble the stuff of movie sets, amusement parks and architecture. The teams of braniacs and laborers, both skilled and unskilled, only serve to dilute with efficiency, and spread-thin with pheasability the cleverness that may or may not have been present in the origins of the thing. If the subject of the work becomes its size, then it is the wrong size. I suspect many of Oldenbergs works would have been more effective if they were smaller and less expensive. There are kinds of limitations and thresholds that keep things in the realm of Art and not fluff.

Richard Serra understands all this perfectly. His work is just the right size.

Ries 03-05-2008 08:05 PM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Evaldart, you may not think its art if its too big, but other people might.

I, for instance, maintain that both the Statue of Liberty and Mt. Rushmore are "Art". In each case, there was an artist, who had a career behind him of sculpture, with a solid grasp of making sculptures himself, who realistically realized that help was essential.


Each of us gets to make the decision for ourselves what is too big, and where to draw the line.
Obviously, many people, including people who pay for them, consider Oldenburg's sculptures to be Art.

Regardless, the issue here is not size- its management.
And I can certainly understand why many artists steer clear of projects so big they require more management than creativity.
But if your vision is large, you have to have help.

Personally, I have not spent $60,000 on an engineer on one project, although my wife has been involved in a couple of projects where the client paid much more than that for engineering and engineering integration with the building for her work.
Engineering is billed by the hour, and its usually pretty transparent- not a lot of room for villa's in Italy in most engineer bills I have paid.

I have hired quite a few engineers over the years, many times for quite reasonable amounts, usually to draw and stamp the design I give them to begin with. Although I do rely on engineers for footings, and seismic calcs.

Good engineers are a bargain, in my book. As Glenn pointed out, they carry insurance, actually usually errors and ommissions, not straight liability, but they also are licenced with the state, and therefore help to get seemingly wild sculptural ideas accepted by big money people. This is a comfort to the client, and even though I KNOW I can build a solid piece, structurally, the engineer acts as a traditionally accepted assurance to the client that the artwork will stand up.

An engineer who can engineer an artwork is a whole nother beast from a guy who looks up beam spans in a book, for a home addition. My main engineer worked for years for Ove-Arup, the premier international firm, is an expert in cable structures, and has worked with some of the biggest artists out there. He is a delight to work with, and worth every penny I pay him (or dont, when I trade him furniture for his patio...)

evaldart 03-06-2008 05:53 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Ries, I don't think we all need to disclaim at the start of every post that "the views following are the views of one particular artist and are not meant to be read as an attempt to propogate said views through verbal assertion or to proclaim ownership of an idea or set of values."
You always make perfect sense, and usually sound right in whatever you address, and have more than once influenced my thinking on a topic...But often I am suspicious of things that seem too "right" or sensible or graspable or generally acceptible.
To ME, the Statue of Liberty, Rushmore, the mountain-sized Crazy Horse, the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids, and the ninth wonder of the world - the Pulaski Skyway - are all NOT Art. Mesmerizing and powerful visual treats, yes, but not art to me.
Now I'm not saying that one needs to smelt the metal, drive the diesel truck from the factory, wrestle the tons off alone (though that is what I do) in order for it all to be authentic. But a very personal relationship to the stuff of the Art and the ensuing processes should be pursued, vigorously captured and then utilized, DESPITE all physical, financial and technical limitations. Involving and paying jobbers too heavily here for their expertise in the relieving of your stresses and anxieties and doubts will definitely affect how the thing looks. And in the end "how it looks" is the most important effect the Artist can have.

Yes the world needs gigantic structures for many different reasons, and I'm glad that people with fine art backgrounds are getting these gigs, but if they base their creative self-evaluations upon these types of projects they might be forgetting why they got involved in this kind of life in the first place. And that might be a good thing lost.

jOe~ 03-06-2008 07:43 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Quote:

To ME, the Statue of Liberty, Rushmore, the mountain-sized Crazy Horse, the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids, and the ninth wonder of the world - the Pulaski Skyway - are all NOT Art.
So if the gigantic metal woman that holds so much symbolic meaning for hundreds of millions of people, possibly more than any other sculpture, that has been seen by more people than any other statue in the world, were smaller and situated in a white room, might it then be art? If the gigantic stone monuments that.... get my drift? Yeah I know you emphasized "to ME", but I suspect a momentary lapse in your normally generous definition of art has occurred. Did you get up too early and post before your jug of coffee?

evaldart 03-06-2008 08:09 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Joe, I would contest that I have a broader view of what could be accepted as Art than most...but "symbolic meaning to millions of people" is often achieved by entities that have nothing at all to do with Art or even anything creative at all. So it needn't be part of the definition. I know many people who melt as they approach Fenway Park. Symbol is a tool of history, and we artists/writer/musicians,etc., borrow it sometimes to beef up our work...but symbol is not enough to carry the art completely...no matter how excessively viewed and adored. The best Art risks meaninglessness, flirts with confusion and tantalizes with the prospect of the unforseen. None of that will arrive by the over-orchestrated proceedings of the pheasablity committee that gives us our "artified" skylines, as impressive and wondrous as they may be.

And yes, I had not yet had my morning dose of strong coffee and death metal. So maybe I'm making more sense now...but maybe not.

jOe~ 03-06-2008 08:16 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Quote:

The best Art risks meaninglessness, flirts with confusion and tantalizes with the prospect of the unforseen....maybe I'm making more sense now...but maybe not.
Even less sense...no sense....non sense. And I am being gentle.

evaldart 03-06-2008 08:29 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
All right, more coffee and I'll turn the Cradle of Filth up a bit louder and try again later.

GlennT 03-06-2008 08:32 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
I'm thinking that maybe the cradle of filth is causing the problems here!

jOe~ 03-06-2008 08:34 AM

Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits
 
Quote:

Cradle of Filth
ROTFLMAO!!!


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