James Grashow’s Cut-ups

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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James Grashow, noted illustrator and obsessive sculptor, completed his opus maximus, The Bernini Fountain, a few years ago.

The cardboard bernini

Several years ago, while visiting the home of his art dealer, Allan Stone (who was also my father), he stumbled across some of his giant fighting men that had been put outside due to lack of space. They were disintegrating. Although it was deeply painful and shocking for Jimmy to see his work like that, it was also surprisingly beautiful. Jimmy felt that he was seeing the full arc of his artistic enterprise before him—including its end.So, Grashow challenged himself to embrace the “back end” of his process, and decided to build a giant cardboard “fountain”—a Grashow “Bernini.” From its conception, Jimmy intended this work to be put outside to disintegrate. Work on the fountain began in 2007 and was completed in 2010. I have been documenting this process from the start.

In 2012, I wrote this when it was installed at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum:

Grashow’s enormous cardboard sculpture is inspired by Bernini’s famous Trevi Fountain in Rome. He believes that “creation and destruction are married to each other,” so the work will be installed outdoors on The Aldrich’s front terrace where it will weather and disintegrate. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in Grashow’s project Accumulated Wishes by recording their hopes and dreams on special coins designed by the artist and then tossing them into the Fountain at the Museum.

The film just played on PBS this past Sunday, November 10, but you can see snippets here. Or purchase the DVD here.

The cardboard bernini

Additional Resource: 2013 RDAFor more inspiring designs and articles by Steven Heller, be sure to pick up a copy of Print’s 2013 Regional Design Annual.