Austrian contemporary artist Franz West died yesterday at age 65. West was known for his whimsical and non-ideological art objects ad installations. As an iconoclast, his works challenged the idea of serious art as and autonomous object, and re-examined the form vs function debate from both sides. West’s works frequently mingled painting, sculpture, collage, and furniture.
I especially love his large, colorful public sculptures which parody the seriousness of the more “typical” abstract public art. The photos in this post are of West’s work: “The Ego and the Id” installed at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park, July 15, 2009 – July 15, 2010. This 20-foot high lacquered aluminum sculpture shows off his signature style of combining whimsy with giganticness. Like many of the artist’s public works, its surface simulates the rough-surfaced materials, like plaster or papier-mâché, West worked with earlier in his career.
From the Public Art Fund: “‘The Ego and the Id‘ borrows its name from one of Sigmund Freud’s best known texts, in which he explores the ego’s battle with three forces: the id, the super-ego, and the outside world. Removing the gallery walls heightens the connection between West’s work and Freud’s work, allowing these forces to intermingle with the streets of New York City as a backdrop.”