Petah Coyne – New Installation on 5th Floor

New on view on the 5th floor is an installation of works by Petah Coyne from the collection. These works are individual pieces that have been envisioned as an installation. For this, she created flowers and bows to complement and unify the hanging sculptures. In case you’re wondering where it’s located, you can’t miss it. It’s just outside the 5th floor elevator.


Petah Coyne (American, born 1953). Left: Untitled #750 (Bird Wedding Cake), 1993. Wax and mixed media. Gift of the Rothfeld Family in memory of Harriet Weill Rothfeld, and designated purchase funds, 2008.17.2. Center: Untitled #698 (Trying to Fly, Houdini’s Chandelier), 1991. Mixed media. Gift of the Rothfeld Family in memory of Harriet Weill Rothfeld, 2008.17.1. Right: Untitled 816 (Dr. Zhivago), 1995-96. Formulated wax, steel, antique birdhouse, wire, cable, ribbon, silk flowers, candles. Anonymous gift in honor of Charlotta Kotik, 1997.191. Photo courtesy bachullus via Flickr.

Petah Coyne’s fantastical forms, presenting a beauty that slides into the grotesque, allude to death and decay. Her large, arresting sculptures are neither abstraction nor figuration, but exist somewhere between the two. Using a wide range of nontraditional materials including hay, wire, black sand, specially formulated wax, silk flowers, ribbons, artificial birds, earth, hair, and trees, Coyne often veils or covers objects as though they were artifacts frozen in time. Often hanging from the ceiling, her sculptures project a sense of unease and fragility. Although the materials appear delicate, one senses the weight and density of the works (the gossamer-like Untitled 816 (Dr. Zhivago), for example, weighs three hundred pounds).

Coyne is part of a generation of feminist sculptors who came of age in the late 1980s after Minimalism. Like many of her contemporaries such as Ursula von Rydingsvard, she seeks to integrate themes of nature and the self in her works, which become metaphors for the human experience of the life cycle.

To see more, stay tuned she will be having a solo show at Galerie Lelong later this year.