The Metalwork of Albert Paley

The Metalwork of Albert Paley


Article in the April 1973 Craft Horizons on metal sculptor Albert Paley.

A 1973 Craft Horizons article focused on the outsized jewelry of the now-acclaimed metal sculptor.

"It would be difficult to remain unaffected by his constructions,” Allan Peterson observed of Albert Paley’s early career in the April 1973 Craft Horizons. The now-acclaimed metal sculptor was then focused on jewelry, primarily complex, fanciful forms, in outsized dimensions.

Paley, who maintains a studio in Rochester, NY, transitioned to large-scale sculptural and architectural metalwork beginning with the massive Portal Gates at the Renwick Gallery. Since then he has completed more than 50 site-specific works. His monumental sculptures in Rochester—Threshold, at the Klein Steel headquarters, and Sentinel, at the Rochester Institute of Technology—are, respectively, the subject of a book and a PBS documentary. Paley’s latest public piece, Evanesce, towering at 100 feet, is part of an urban project in Monterrey, Mexico, and the fabrication of four sculptures for the 24th Street Bridge in Council Bluffs, IA, is underway.

The recipient of many honors, Paley is the first metal sculptor to receive a lifetime achievement award for integrating art with architecture from the American Institute of Architects. He was elected to the American Craft Council’s College of Fellows in 1994.

The artist’s work can now be seen in a solo show at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, until April 18. Another one-man show will open in May at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. “Sketches to Steel: The Design Process of Sculptor Albert Paley,” scheduled to begin touring in October through ExhibitsUSA, will present drawings, studies, maquettes and in-situ photographs selected from Paley’s archives. Mildred F. Schmertz, contributing editor for Architecture magazine, notes, “The ultimate meaning in a sequence of Paley drawings is to be found in its outcome: a work in metal, wrought with consummate skill.”