Hudson

Shakespeare's Fvlcrvm

New York





Without art, we are but monkeys with car keys. -Tery Fugate-Wilcox

Tery Fugate-Wilcox

Tery in gallery talking with guest
Tery Fugate-Wilcox, Hudson, NY, 2021
Photo by Vincent Velez

Tery Fugate-Wilcox (born 1944) (also known as Terry Fugate-Wilcox before the 1980s when he "donated a surplus r to charity"), is a minimalist and natural-process postminimalist (Actual Art)-ist painter and sculptor best known for three monumental art works in New York City and surrounding region: the LMCC-sponsored Holland Tunnel Wall (dismantled circa 1989), the 3-storey Self-Watering Tetrahedrons fountain located in Prudential's Gateway 4 lobby until 1998, and the permanently installed 36-foot-tall 3000 A.D. Diffusion Piece in J. Hood Wright Park overlooking the George Washington Bridge.

The artist is an NEA-laureate with creations in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Australia, NYC Parks, and several museums. His art at times led to tangles with the House Un-American Activities Committee, the New York City Department of Buildings, and magazine "Art in America". He was co-organizer of the Fulcrum Gallery (AKA Fvlcrvm Gallery, AKA Shakespeare's Fvlcrvm) located in the basement of the SoHo Branch of the Guggenheim Museum until both sites closed in 2002 in part due to the economic effects arising from the September 11 attacks on SoHo and TriBeCa.


Diffusing Metal Sculptures

Consistent with the artist's enthusiasm for the Actual Art concept that time and natural process should be able to change art's appearance, the most recognizable Fugate-Wilcox pieces involve same-sized flat rectangular slabs of chemically sensitive metals which are physically bolted together—with the intent that, over time (an estimated year indicated in the piece's title) the slabs would chemically bond together through diffusion or other means into one solid mass.

Such pieces include the National Gallery of Australia's 2,500 A.D. (Cu & Zn), and Cu & C (3500 ad), and also Blue steel & brass (2500 ad) New York City's prominent 1974 outdoor sculpture, 3000 A.D. Diffusion Piece is such a work: in theory, the piece's various aluminum and magnesium slabs will join themselves into one continuous alloy block around the year 3000. (The geo-coordinates of the site of the 3000 A.D. Diffusion Piece are: 40.847283,-73.94205.


Other Sculpture

Absolute Gun Control, Fugate-Wilcox, 2021
Absolute Gun Control, Fugate-Wilcox, 2021

Fugate-Wilcox concrete sculptures typically consist of flat slabs of concrete in the elemental polygonal shapes so often favored by minimalist artists. Fugate-Wilcox peppers the exposed surfaces of the still-wet concrete with metallic powder or other substances likely to oxidize or otherwise chemically change with the passage of time). Some Fugate-Wilcox flat steel creations have involved changes created by blast effects from explosives. The warping and spalling resulting from contact with detonating explosives is used for artistic effect. Fugate-Wilcox also designs lightning-modified art. Some of the artist's creations use furnace-burnt or otherwise deweaponized handguns obtained from municipal gun buyback programs.

The artist's Weathering Triangle outdoor sculpture in New York City was meant to feature the changing colors brought about by chemical reactions over time; however, Smithsonian photos show that in fact the surface was usually just covered-over by unauthorized event posters and graffiti. The piece was also a long-time "litigating triangle" as NY Buildings repeatedly fought to challenge in court the Triangle's erection without permits.

Totum Sculptures
Tery Fugate-Wilcox

Some sculptures have used bundles of vertically installed 2 by 4 lumber which would gradually fan-out slightly from their original rigidly compact vertical formation due to the swelling and warping effects of humidity. According to a 1983 New York Times article, a Fugate-Wilcox warping wood piece called Weathering Wood took advantage of variations in humidity to flex and "flower out" when dry, and then "close back up" when the environment became more humid.

A future sculptural design for which the artist acquired land and started a nonprofit organization to raise funds is his San Andreas Fault Sculpture Project: a proposed 1-acre (4,000 m2) monolith of concrete (20 ft deep (6.1 m)) meant to straddle both sides of the San Andreas Fault so that over time the Earth's own plate-tectonic forces will crack the block into two golden rectangles that will continue to move past each other in opposite directions. The artist's intent would be to use "the Earth itself, as a tool to make the movement of massive continents visible on a scale that can be understood in human terms".


Paintings

Painting, Fugate-Wilcox, 2021
The Parade of the Dancers, Fugate-Wilcox, 2012

Consistent with the artist's "Actual Art" philosophy, Fugate-Wilcox's abstract paintings often include in their creation, certain natural processes like weathering, rainfall evidence, or oxidation over time; sometimes the natural processes will (on purpose) cause additional colors to appear upon a once-monochromatic surface.

A notable example seen by millions of New York City motorists (during the decade or so it was installed) was the outdoor mural titled Holland Tunnel Wall —a painting larger than the entire facade of the neighboring national parish church Our Lady of Vilnius. located on the multistory parking tower on the northwest corner of Varick and Broome directly in view of vehicles entering the Holland Tunnel. This mural (formerly the site of a megabillboard now gone because the whole building was demolished in November 2015) at first appeared all white until, over time, it became ever more colorful as layers of water-soluble paint weathered away by rain revealed the artist's pigmented underlayers.

The artist's intention was to use paints that were incompatible with each other, so that as the work weathered, different colors would emerge. The first layer was red epoxy paint; the second layer, yellow latex; the third layer was blue oil-based alkyd; the fourth layer was green-pigmented shellac, and the fifth (final) layer was whitewash of white water-soluble casein paint. (The geo-coordinates of the former site of the Holland Tunnel Wall mural are: 40.724455, -74.006305.)


Performance Art

The Jean Freeman Gallery Does Not Exist, Cover
The Jean Freeman Gallery Does Not Exist, Chistopher Howard

Consistent with the artist's "Actual Art" philosophy, Fugate-Wilcox's abstract paintings often include in their creation, certain natural processes like weathering, rainfall evidence, or oxidation over time; sometimes the natural processes will (on purpose) cause additional colors to appear upon a once-monochromatic surface.

A notable example seen by millions of New York City motorists (during the decade or so it was installed) was the outdoor mural titled Holland Tunnel Wall —a painting larger than the entire facade of the neighboring national parish church Our Lady of Vilnius. located on the multistory parking tower on the northwest corner of Varick and Broome directly in view of vehicles entering the Holland Tunnel. This mural (formerly the site of a megabillboard now gone because the whole building was demolished in November 2015) at first appeared all white until, over time, it became ever more colorful as layers of water-soluble paint weathered away by rain revealed the artist's pigmented underlayers.

The artist's intention was to use paints that were incompatible with each other, so that as the work weathered, different colors would emerge. The first layer was red epoxy paint; the second layer, yellow latex; the third layer was blue oil-based alkyd; the fourth layer was green-pigmented shellac, and the fifth (final) layer was whitewash of white water-soluble casein paint. (The geo-coordinates of the former site of the Holland Tunnel Wall mural are: 40.724455, -74.006305.)

Actual Art

2500 AD, Tery Fugate-Wilcox
Terry Fugate-Wilcox, 2500 A.D., 1974, copper and silver, 6 x 4 x 3½ in. Photograph: Louis K. Meisel Gallery

Historically, art has been categorized as either referential or non-referential. Visual arts have bounced around these two categories for centuries, sometimes blending the two, sometimes stretching them to include conceptual & performance arts, but never actually escaping the two altogether. Both of these labels infer an approach that is virtual. All ordinary art is based on the virtual. There is a third & inclusive kind of art that finds its essence in the actuality of its instrumentation.

Virtual art involves a kind of tromp l'oeil approach. It is not really what it seems; the illusion of depth, balance pretended, juxtaposition, unexpected medium or sometimes it simply means more than you actually see. The educated viewer may no longer try to understand what a work of art represents, but still wonders what it means.

Sometimes ordinary art is thought of as a mirror of the cultural condition, a reflection of the "times we live in", providing the most obvious statement of the human condition. Cultural art may be historically important in a very narrow sense, or it may make us look at ourselves in contexts that grow weaker with each passing week, but this is excruciatingly limited in an age striving to understand the complex interrelationships of the entire universe. The traditional approach to creating art has been to force the materials to an idea originating with the artist.

The artist's statement is conceived, a suitable medium is sought & the materials are manipulated to suit the statement. No more thought is given to the physical life of the art, its ACTUALITY, than that it should last to fulfill the desire of the artist. If time is actually part of the artist's palette, then the qualities of the materials being used in the art become part of the statement of the art in a concrete physical way.

When the art is given it's life in this fashion the changes it will experience as it exists in the world become positive. The art will be enriched by its involvement in the real world, creating an interface between the aesthetics of the art & reality, as a living thing experience reality.

Actual Art Foundation

Anthony Reason, Rust on Pleated Canvas, 1996

The Actual Art Foundation was founded in 1985, to promote and encourage the support and development of Actual Art and to educate, assist and instruct the public toward awareness of this important genre of art which is related to environmental issues by the unique way the art works with nature in a positive mind set.

To this end, the Actual Art Foundation has curated and sponsored art exhibitions in Princeton, New Jersey, Hartford, Connecticut; Regensburg, Germany; and the City Gallery, New York City. The Foundation is currently organizing shows world wide after having had several group shows at the Fvlcrvm Gallery SoHo. The Foundation has worked with other not-for-profit organizations such as The Public Art Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and City Walls to assist artists in realizing major works of art throughout the City, both temporary installations as well as permanently installed site-specific works.

The Foundation also works with many major international corporations towards the completion and promotion of temporary art exhibitions as well as permanent installations of art, and to assist in the education of the public, especially school children, about art in general and environmentally conscious art in particular.

Currently, the Actual Art Foundation is dedicated to raising funds for the San Andreas Fault Sculpture Project by artist Tery Fugate-Wilcox, This $9,500,000 project is to be constructed over the San Andreas Fault in Palm Springs, California.

San Andreas Fault Project

Fugate-Wilcox's conception of the planned San Adreas Fault Sculpture

Using the energy of the San Andreas Fault to create a work of art near Palm Springs, Ca., Tery will be creating a one-acre block of low exothermic, air-entrained concrete, weighing approximately 68,000 tons and measuring 188'x232'x20'. The sculpture will be placed across the San Andreas fault, in one of several locations deemed active by an Oakland engineering consultant. Over the years, the fault's energy will break the sculpture into two similar rectangles, shifting the blocks in opposite directions.

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612 Warren Street
Hudson, New York 12534