Copper in the Arts

December 2016

Bronze and Copper Hippo Ballerina Installed at NYC’s Lincoln Center

On Feb. 7, a larger than life bronze and copper clad hippo ballerina will be dancing its way to Lincoln Center. Standing over 15-ft tall, weighing over 2½ tons, cast in bronze, and clad in a copper tutu, Hippo Ballerina, 2017, by Danish artist Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, will be on view through July 31. Following in the footsteps of impressive animal sculptures including the lounging lions, raging bull, and crouching cougar that lord over the city’s most treasured landmarks, New York’s Art in the Parks program has given Hippo Ballerina a pride of place at Dante Park, across from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Hippo BallerinaHippo Ballerina will be on view in NYC through July 31.

Photograph courtesy of New York Art in the Park

Inspired by Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and the dancing hippos of Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Hippo Ballerina vividly illustrates the artist’s ability to reinterpret subjects and themes found in ancient myths, art history, modern animation, and contemporary popular culture in playful ways that engage the viewer.

“I think a fun way to revitalize themes from art history that have been forgotten lately is through animal allegories, because we are so used to that through animation and fables,” said Skaarup.

In the grand tradition of Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, many of Skaruup’s bronzes are also patinated in bright hues to appear more lifelike. Vibrantly adorned in bright jewel tones, Dancing Bear, 2013, dressed as the Ballets Russes star Vaslav Nijinsky, perches on one foot atop a Fabergé egg, evocative of classical depictions of Fortuna, the goddess of luck, balancing on a ball. Along with Hippo Ballerina, these life-size sculptures were cast in Florence, Italy, at Ciglia & Carria Fonderia Artistica.  

Adding to the merriment, Bronze Creatures Great and Small, the companion exhibition to Skaarup’s first New York City public sculpture installation, will be on view at Cavalier Gallery at 3 West 57th Street from Feb. 8 to March 17, 2017. Featuring over twelve animal bronzes, ranging in scale from small to colossal, each member of this menagerie (select editions are also on permanent view in lavish locales including St. Barth’s) has a telling tale to tell. Leading the pack will be The Majestic Lion, 2008. Mounted mischievously atop a wobbly rocking horse rather than an imposing steed, he sports the commanding pose, bejeweled crown, and imposing armor of a magnificent monarch.


New York Art in the Parks, Dante Park Exhibit, 64th St. and Broadway, New York, NY

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