Philip F. Palmedo, a physicist and international entrepreneur who received his Ph.D. from MIT, has written on subjects as far-ranging as nuclear reactor physics, economic development, technology commercialization, and the relationship between art and science, but American metal sculpture holds an abiding fascination for him. Dr. Palmedo’s previous books include Voices in Bronze, about the sculptor Richard McDermott Miller, and Bill Barrett: Evolution of a Sculptor.
Art and Science
An illustrated exploration of the fundamental connections between art and science, from an author who has lived in both worlds
In this thought-provoking book, Philip F. Palmedo, a former physicist who now writes on art, reveals how the two defining enterprises of humankind—art and science—are rooted in certain common instincts, which we might call aesthetic: an appreciation of symmetry, balance, and rhythm; the drive to simplify and abstract natural forms, and to represent them symbolically.
Palmedo traces these instincts back to a very early time in human history—demonstrating, for example, the level of abstract thinking required to create the stone tools and cave paintings of the Paleolithic—and then forward, to the builders of the Gothic cathedrals, to Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton, to Einstein and Picasso.
Illustrated with more than 125 creations of the genus Homo—from a flint hand ax chipped half a million years ago to the abstractions of Hilma af Klint and the James Webb Space Telescope—Palmedo’s text leaves us with a new appreciation of the instinct for beauty shared by artists and scientists alike.
An elegantly produced volume which illustrates celebrated American metal sculptor Joel Perlman’s finest works and relates them to his fascinating life story.
-- WINNER of the New York Book Show Award
This handsomely illustrated book is the first monograph devoted to the work of Joel Perlman (b. 1943), an acclaimed sculptor in steel and bronze, whose works are represented in the permanent collections of America’s top museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Perlman’s best works from the 1970s to the present day — from the austerely abstract Chevy Short (For Jeannie Day), shown at the 1973 Whitney Biennial, to the lyrical Sky Spirit, a monumental commission completed in 2004 — are depicted in here in stunning full-page photographs, most in full color.
All readers with an interest in contemporary sculpture will appreciate not only the book’s striking illustrations but also its thoughtfully written text, which relates Perlman’s art to his life. Author Philip F. Palmedo, drawing on extensive interviews with his subject and his subject’s colleagues, engagingly describes how each chapter of Perlman’s life — from his early days of teaching alongside Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski in the Bennington College art department to his struggle, ultimately very successful, to establish himself in SoHo’s vibrant 1970s art scene — served to strengthen his commitment to his own abstract, Modernist aesthetic.
This thoughtful narrative, which seamlessly synthesizes Perlman’s intimate art-world anecdotes and Palmedo’s own keen critical observations, is beautifully complemented by an insightful foreword by renowned art dealer André Emmerich, whose gallery represented Perlman for twenty years.