Title: Peels

Creator: John von Bergen

Region: Rome

Date: 1970-1979, installed at Griffiss 2010

Medium: steel, paint

Technique: metalworking, welding, painting

Description: The right tool makes all the difference, as seen in the rolled steel and curved pipe of John von Bergen's Peels. In the early days of Sculpture Space in Utica, the founding artists rented space from the Utica Steam Engine and Boiler Works. They rejoiced in the work that the space and facilities allowed them to do. For many of them, it meant they could take their work to a larger scale. For von Bergen, this meant experimentation both with scale and with the tools newly available to him at the Boiler Works across the street. Peels is evidence of that. The "peels" from which the piece gets its name, after orange peels, could only take on that shape with the rollers at the Boiler Works. Similarly, the tools there allowed him to bend the pipes that form the interplay around the peels. The contrast of the bright red peels against the black curving lines add to the playful feel of the piece, as all the curves create a joyful movement. Respect for the right tool played into the later history of Peels as well: von Bergen traded the sculpture to a private collector in exchange for a rock crusher. After that collector passed away, his family contacted von Bergen for advice about donating the sculpture. He suggested that they donate it to Sculpture Space, who in turn donated it to Griffiss International Sculpture Garden.

Subject: Public art, Metal sculpture, Outdoor sculpture

Rights: © John von Bergen 1970-79

(In Copyright,

Find out more:

ID#: AO-00004

Location: Griffiss International Sculpture Garden, Rome, along Wright Drive