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Jesús Soto Sculpture Makes its New York City Debut at Hunter

Jesús Soto (1923-2005), Venezuela
Gran esfera cobalto (Large Blue Sphere), 1989

Painted aluminum and nylon
118 1/8 x 118 1/8 x 118 1/8 "(300 x 300 x 300 cm)

This is the first public installation of a work by Jesús Soto (1923-2005) to appear in New York City, and the first work from his Esfera (Sphere) series to be installed in the United States (Esferas have been installed in public sites in South Korea, France, Spain, and Venezuela). At Hunter, Gran esfera cobalto (Large Blue Sphere) is on loan from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and will hang for at least a year in the West Lobby on the College's main campus at the corner of 68th Street and Lexington, a space open to the public. In 1974 an interactive sculpture from Soto's related series Penetrables (Penetrables) hung for several months in the central atrium of the Guggenheim Museum when a retrospective of his work appeared there.

The Venezuelan artist Jesús Soto was born in Ciudad Bolívar, studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas de Caracas (School of Visual and Applied Arts of Caracas) from 1942 to 1947, and moved to Paris in 1950. In Paris he began producing abstract and kinetic paintings and sculpture and showed with the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and at the Galerie Denise René. During the 1970s, the interactive public sculptures Soto was commissioned to make in Caracas helped reinvigorate the local art scene and made him a key figure in the spirited public art scene in Venezuela. In all of his work, Soto pursued the limits of abstraction, and explored the opposition between stasis and dynamism.

In Gran esfera, blue aluminum tubes hang by nylon cords from a grid anchored to the ceiling so that the tubes appear to float in space. The work's highly responsive relationships to both the architectural context and spectators' bodies conveys Soto's lifelong interest in creating large, public interactive works that explore the limits between architecture and sculpture, and sculpture and spectators.

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