Arnie Zimmerman's Requiem

November 12, 2021

Press Release

Arnie Zimmerman: Requiem

Saturday, November 20th - Sunday, December 19th, 2021

Opening Reception: 5 - 8 PM, Saturday, November 20th, 2021

 

Izzy’s Room

84 Green St.

Hudson, NY 12534

 

Tanja Grunert is proud to present Arnie Zimmerman's Requiem at Izzy’s Room. Curated by the artist himself, the exhibition first opened in 2019. While Zimmerman had previously invited other artists to explore his body of work and curate an exhibition for Izzy’s Room, Requiem marks the artist’s first self-curation in the space.

 

In this selection of work, Arnie Zimmerman spotlights his abiding reverence for the natural world, specifically, the mystery of the ocean. That hidden world provides the context for his series of humpback whales and women. These leviathans, symbols of nature’s unyielding power, dwarf the accompanying female figures.  And yet these women remain unfearful. In fact, they appear to be at ease, riding, embracing, and lounging upon their gargantuan companions. They have found a profound harmony with these indomitable forces.

 

At the center of Requiem is Portrait, the bust of a young woman with blue scrimshaw upon her face and neck. Though the smallest work on display, Portrait stands out as the exhibition’s only sculpture not depicting a whale with a woman riding upon it. Instead, whale and woman have merged: the scrimshaw upon — or emerging from — the young woman’s skin depicts a whale’s fluke and two whale heads. This union of woman and whale blends tenderness with strength. The women and whales of Requiem manifest the mystery of co-habitation, the mingling of all living things.

 

The exhibition space, Izzy’s Room, and the exhibition Requiem honor Arnie Zimmerman’s and Ann Rosenthal’s daughter Izzy.

As we mourn the loss of Arnie Zimmerman, we share his work as means to celebrate his life.

 

Alongside the exhibition of Requiem, Arnie Zimmerman’s Planters Field at the Prince Beatrix House will be extended through Sunday, December 19th, 2021.

 

Requiem and Planters Field will be open Saturdays and Sunday from 12 - 6 PM.

 

Artist Statement

This body of work, commencing in 2015 and completed summer 2018, began as a celebration; a decision to try sculpting from the live model, a new expression for me, in a new studio and new location: Hudson NY. I was having fun with this challenge while bouncing around from project to project. On July 24, 2016, our daughter Izzy was killed by a reckless driver in Thailand, she was almost 24 years old. Whatever trajectory the work had toward celebration and wonder became a dirge. In a state of shock, I continued working and struggled to complete the large whale and figure sculptures already in progress. I’ve never had such difficulty making objects seen in my minds’ eye. The clay cracked and broke, fell apart, I lost the cognitive ability to learn how to fire my new computerized kilns; it felt like I was a novice with the material and, truly a novice with realistic figure sculpture, I felt like an imposter. In short I lost almost all agency. The choice was to abandon this work: another loss. I could not; whales have been a touchstone for Izzy and me since she was little. The deep wound of her loss, my broken heart and life is somehow expressed in this work, I know that now.

 

By making these sculptures I found one way to stay connected to Izzy as she is now: Spirit. I feel her around me, my grief is an echo of our connection.

 

We honor her life on earth and her abiding spirit by using this space to show my work and in the future, the work of others.

 

Biography

Arnold “Arnie” Zimmerman (1954-2021), was born in Poughkeepsie, NY, received his BFA from the Kansas City Art institute and his MFA form Alfred University, going on to train as a stone carver in France. Zimmerman came to prominence in the 1980’s with large scale carved vessels resembling giant totems. In the mid-1990s, Arnie Zimmerman’s work changed, focusing on smaller scale figurative works, often portrayed in scenes and panoramas.

He is perhaps best known for his monumental work Inner City, designed with the architect Tiago Montepegado, and exhibited in Portugal, The Netherlands and the United States.


Arnie Zimmerman showed with numerous celebrated galleries over the years including Hadler Rodriquez, NY, Garth Clark, NY, Helen Drutt, PA, John Elder Gallery, NY, and Sherry Leedy, MO. He was a recipient of a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 1999, multiple fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Zimmerman’s work can be found in many public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum, NY; the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, NY; Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC;  the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; the Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI; the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; and the Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal, Quebec, among others.