Sculptor Forrest Myers (b. 1941 in Long Beach, CA) arrives in Milwaukee over Labor Day weekend to attend the unveiling of a restored monumental sculpture at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, and for the openings of two companion exhibitions curated by Nicholas Frank, one at Lynden and one at The Green Gallery.
Forrest Myers moved to New York from the West Coast in 1961 after studying at the San Francisco Art Institute, and by the late sixties was becoming known for works both large and small: monumental sculptures like Four Corners (now at Storm King) and the diminutive Moon Museum that carried the work of Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and Myers himself to the moon on a tiny ceramic wafer attached to the Apollo 12 lander. A founding member of the seminal Park Place Gallery in Soho and perhaps best known for The Wall, 1973, located on the side of a building not far from the gallery, Myers was part of an emerging downtown scene that ignored traditional boundaries between disciplines and between aesthetics and function.
The Lynden Sculpture Garden has been working with Myers to restore, reimagine, and re-site Quartet, 1967/2013. The early monumental work originally known as Calipers resided on Milwaukee’s lakefront for many years as part of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection. It went into storage in the mid-1990s when the Calatrava addition was being built, and came to Lynden in 2011 when the museum determined that it no longer had a place to display it.
“We are delighted that Quartet is taking its place as part of Lynden’s permanent collection,” notes Lynden’s Executive Director Polly Morris. “When Lynden opened in 2010, we were able to make this collection of over 50 monumental sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s, collected by Harry and Peg Bradley and sited across the landscape they created with architects Langford & Moreau, regularly available to the general public for the first time. Although we have presented a number of temporary commissions and projects at Lynden, this is our first opportunity to add a work to our permanent collection. Forrest Myers was making very significant large-scale sculpture in that period, and Quartet fills a gap in our collection. We are grateful that the Milwaukee Art Museum chose to donate the work to us, and we are pleased that Myers chose to rethink the piece—which he had not seen in decades—and to participate actively in the siting of the sculpture.”
Myers has remained active as an artist over the intervening decades, making new work in a variety of media and revisiting older works. Lynden invited Nicholas Frank to curate an exhibition that provides some insight into Myers’s diverse production in the nearly 50 years since he completed the sculpture. Domesticated Monumentalism ranges across the gallery and the patio at Lynden and includes maquettes for large-scale sculptures (1964-1970), furniture-sculptures (1989-2013), metal paintings (1970, 2008, 2011), and a selection of small sculptures from 1996 to the present, including For Miles and the recently-completed Two Males.
This reconsideration of aspects of Myers’s career then extends beyond Lynden’s borders to The Green Gallery, where a companion exhibition, Scaling the Wall, focuses on The Wall and the Moon Museum.
“The legacy of sculptor Forrest Myers has been assured,” observes Frank, “for billions of years. The Wall, 1973, the building-sized sculpture on Houston Street just west of Broadway in lower Manhattan, has been officially recognized as a historic site. Myers made the Moon Museum in 1969 as an edition of sixteen, and while one of these will be on view at The Green Gallery, an original copy of this multiple is said to have landed with Apollo 12 at the Mare Cognitum site, and remains to this day the only ‘museum’ on the moon.”
Myers celebrated the conclusion of the long battle to protect The Wall by extending the piece geographically, creating 42 new “T” sections, identical to the originals, to be placed in collections around the globe. Three of the first five “T” sections will be available at the Green Gallery, one installed on the outside wall in homage to its original.