press release

Animals, Buildings, Cars, and People is Julian Opie's first U.S. sculpture survey, featuring fourteen works from nine different series made between 1997 and the present. Opie mixes and matches icons of the city, small town, and countryside in City Hall Park. At the northern end of the exhibition are two light-emitting diode (L.E.D.) sculptures, Bruce Walking (2004) and Sara Walking (2003), installed on the steps of the Department of Education's headquarters at the Tweed Courthouse. These two full-length portraits depict two figures in constant motion as they appear to walk forward. Around the corner on Broadway, along the western side of City Hall Park, are two life-size, three-dimensional sculptures of cars: Imagine you are driving a red car and Imagine you are driving a white car (both 2004) portray, respectively, a hatchback and a four-door sedan. Nearby is a trio of enamel-on-glass sculptures-This is Kiera, This is Monique, and This is Bijou (all 2004)-each depicting a glamorous female figure. Also along Broadway, near the southern end of the park, are a group of painted wooden animals called Sheep Cow Deer Dog Chicken Cat Goat (1997) and two light-box sculptures, Nantra, pool attendant (2003) and Bijou, model (2004), which feature close-up portraits of two individuals.

On the other side of the park, along Centre Street and Park Row, are four more groups of sculpture. My Aunt's Sheep (1997) is an installation of six enamel-painted aluminum signs of white sheep, which graze on a small grassy area at the northern end of the park. City? (2004), a cluster of three-dimensional aluminum modernist skyscrapers, stands near the subway entrance, facing the Brooklyn Bridge. Village? (2004), a group of plywood buildings, stands near 6 escaped animals (2001), an installation of street signs with animals painted on them.

Julian Opie distills his images from the world around him, rendering them in the universally recognizable style of commercial graphics. He reduces the thing at hand to its most essential lines and color planes, flattening surfaces, and omitting all idiosyncratic details like dents on a car or spots on a cow. The resulting images-straightforward pictograms with bold lines, clean edges, and bright surfaces-read as clearly as traffic signs.

Julian Opie was born in 1958 in London, where he currently lives and works. He attended Goldsmith's School of Art in London from 1979-82. His first solo exhibition was at Lisson Gallery in London in 1983, where he continues to show his work.


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Julian Opie: Animals, Buildings, Cars, and People
City Hall Park