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This Day, That Year – April 12

Wed 12 Apr 2023    
| 2 min read

This day in history we feature Jim Gary. “Twentieth Century Dinosaurs” exhibition opens at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum in Washington, D.C. on this day in 1990.

Trivia – Jim Gary

Jim Gary was an American sculptor popularly known for his large, colorful creations of dinosaurs made from discarded automobile parts. These sculptures were typically finished with automobile paint although some were left to develop a natural patina during display outdoors. He was also recognized internationally for his fine, architectural, landscape, and whimsical monumental art as well as abstracts. Sculpture and life figures by Gary often included intricate use of stained glass and his works were frequently composed of, or included, hardware, machine parts, and tools. He employed painted steel in many works, it being his metal of choice.

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One of his signature works, Universal Woman, a life-sized figure of a woman composed entirely of hardware gained the admiration of renowned sculptor Jacques Lipchitz at a sidewalk show in New York in the early 1960s. Both are modernist sculptors. The Washington Post featured a zoom image from their files of this sculpture in its electronic edition of their 2006 tribute to Gary at his death. A 1971 museum exhibit of his fine art in Washington, D.C. was cited in his listing in Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, a standard library art reference. In 2011 the Asbury Park Press referred to Gary as an icon in the arts. He was born in Sebastian, Florida, but lived in Colts Neck, New Jersey from early infancy and considered it his hometown. At the time of his death he was a resident of nearby Farmingdale. Jim Gary is the only sculptor ever invited to present a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., which opened on April 12, 1990. In January 2006, Time stated that Gary’s work “delighted kids as well as curators, including those at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where he had an acclaimed solo show in 1990.” A video tribute to Jim Gary was featured by ABC News on This Week with George Stefanopoulos on Sunday, January 22, 2006. During the same month, on January 24, 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported in an article, Jim Gary, 66; Artist Who Created Playful Dinosaur Skeletons From Car Parts, that some critics compared Jim Gary’s sculptures with Pablo Picasso’s famous Bull’s Head sculpture, made from a bicycle seat and handlebars. The New York Times devoted half of a page to their newsworthy obituary for Gary on January 19, 2006. Because of his international popularity his death was treated as news around the world and the Gary obituary ran the next day in the arts and leisure section of the globally distributed English language newspaper, the International Herald Tribune, with the title, Jim Gary, Sculptor in Metal.

Source – Wikipedia

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