Tag Archives: Huntington Sculpture Foundation

Curtain for Miles

Submitted by Jim Huntington:

For various reasons, I have been cannibalizing some older sculptures for the stone and reworking them. I did a piece dedicated to Miles Davis called “Curtain For Miles” in 2007 and just reworked it.

Curtain For Miles

Here is a link to a one hour documentary on Miles, called “Miles Ahead”….in my opinion and my heart one of the greatest musicians of my lifetime.

Miles Ahead

http://www.huntingtonsculpture.org

Broken Not Beaten

Submitted by Jim Huntington:

HiromiOn Friday Feb 15,2014  a sculpture that had stood in the sculpture garden for 7 years, was attacked by testosterone poisoned, alcohol fueled feral punks, doing their white trash version of the knockout game. They left behind little evidence save empty beer can and bottle and the destroyed sculpture. The sculpture was titled “Hiromi, Mon Amour” a takeoff on a 60s film title and dedicated to Hiromi Uehara, a brilliant young Japanese pianist.  One of the stones was anchored on a stainless anchor pin, like most of my vertical pieces and the other one was nested against it, with no anchor pin (my mistake). However, it took purposeful malevolent intent and work to knock it over and it broke when it hit the ground.

Of course it was heartbreaking to see one of my favorite pieces destroyed by miscreants, living a pathetic mutated existence at the expense of others but I strive to learn from mistakes and vicissitudes of life.

Refusing to be bowed by these maggots, I set about to reclaim and transform it into a horizontal piece and worked on it for several weeks. The new incarnation is titled “Broken Not Beaten”. I have always felt that my work has a life of its own and that I am merely the messenger, so I deal with what is given.

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Of course, I hope for posterity’s sake that all the work I have at Huntington Sculpture Foundation survives me but the level of cultural insouciance, intellectual dissolution and moral degeneracy permeating society in general, leaves me to wonder about the fate of my life’s work. There is little I can do but make my sculpture and, as I always have, leave it in God’s hands.

Huntington Sculpture Garden Vandalized

One of Jim Huntington’s large, outside sculptures on display at the Huntington Sculpture Foundation was vandalized on Saturday night.

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Evidence was collected from the scene by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department and surveillance video is being examined. According to Huntington, this is the first time his sculptures have been vandalized. He said, “I am going to rework this, one of my favorite sculptures dedicated to Hiromi Uehara, the brilliant young pianist, and hope that its new version is acceptable.”

Jim said, “I heard the woomph when it hit the ground and I said to myself, ‘OMG, I hope I am not under assault.’ I was.” He went on to say, “It was heartbreaking to have one of my favorite pieces damaged and it sickens me to think what is in store for the sculptures when I pass, if the culture keeps degrading to the degree it has been.”

If anyone in the area has any information that might help identify the culprits, please contact the Williams County Sheriff’s Office.

[Publisher’s Note: This would be a good time to pay a visit to the Huntington Sculpture Foundation and make a donation to help defray the cost of recreating this work of art. Take some time to look around and bathe in the subtle energies. Huntington’s works are already part of our heritage. The sculpture garden is a rare treasure and is one of the things that makes Coupland so unique.]

“Foot Lip” is Jim Huntington’s Latest Creation

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This is Jim Huntington’s latest sculpture. He installed it on September 18th at the Huntington Sculpture Foundation. He calls it “Foot Lip.” It is made of granite and measures 36” X 40” X 82”.

I asked Jim a few questions about it. Those questions and his responses follow.

Stewart: Tell me a little bit about this piece. Where did the granite originate?

Jim: Quarry @ Ausable Forks, NY. It’s called mountain green granite. Right now, it is my exclusive quarry, since the supply of granite in America is getting tighter by the year, for various reasons beyond my control.

Stewart: What was your inspiration for it?

Jim: God ….for everything, a blanket muse and grantor. Meaning, I have always felt that I am merely a messenger and God chose me to play on the art team as Neolithic chiseler.

Stewart: What was the process of creating it? Did you encounter any unusual circumstances and, if so, how did you deal with it?

Jim: Diamond is the secret to working granite; using diamond, the hardest stone to cut a hard stone. The stone had a lot of faults and seams and I repaired them with copper butterfly “bandages”, epoxied in place and the stone is now weather proof for TX because the freeze/thaw cycle is negligible.

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The Huntington Sculpture Foundation is open every day and all sculptures are available for purchase. You don’t have to buy anything but if you enjoy this special place, drop a few bucks in the box and sign the guest book. Now that cooler weather is here, I suggest taking a lawn chair and a good book and just soak in the good vibes. Kids love it too but watch out for art-loving wasps.

Jim Huntington’s Latest Sculpture

Here is a picture of Jim Huntington’s latest sculpture entitled “Ring Tone.”

ImageIt is made of granite, concrete, and paint and measures 58” X 58” X 61”. Local artist Wells Mason helped him set the sculpture yesterday.

Jim says, “The concrete cylinder was reclaimed from Manville’s scrap heap, when they removed this old valve well that had been diagonally across from the office for a long time. I had to do some reconstructive surgery to restore it to a complete cylinder but since it was free, it was worth the effort to yield a unique sculpture that I otherwise would not have created.”

I saw Jim working on it and wondered what he was planning for that concrete ring. It’s a unique addition to a unique sculpture garden.

The Huntington Sculpture Foundation is open every day and all sculptures are available for purchase. You don’t have to buy anything but if you enjoy this special place, drop a few bucks in the box and sign the guest book. Mornings and early evenings are the best times to visit this time of year but if you don’t mind the heat, it looks especially nice in the middle of the day with the sun overhead and the green grass as a backdrop.

A Visit With Local Artist Jim Huntington

Recently, I visited with Jim Huntington in his apartment at the rear of his studio in Coupland. We were joined by his dog, Cheyenne. I was impressed with the simplicity of his life. He has the basics but not much else. As we got into conversation, I learned that he doesn’t mince words. He says what he thinks about things and he doesn’t worry much about whether or not anyone dislikes what he has to say. He is sensitive to others’ feelings in certain areas but when it comes to politics . . . well, let’s just say that political correctness has no sway over him.

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Jim is a sculptor.  We discussed a recent piece called “…To Be Secure in Their Persons, Houses…,” which you should recognize as being from the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and part of the Bill of Rights. Despite my assumption to the contrary, Jim said, “Politics is not an integral part of my work, since it is neither polemical or narrative and is only apparent in some title references.” I commented on the footer on his emails, which says, “In Memoriam:  U.S. Constitution BORN 1787. DIED 2012.”  He said, “This ‘signature’ on my emails was a response to Justice Roberts’ contorted, perverse ruling on 0bamacare, which was probably the worst ruling in SCOTUS history, so blatantly unconstitutional that a child could figure that out.”

Jim is not too happy about the lack of reaction on the part of many citizens to the systematic destruction of our civil rights and the Constitution. He said, “They want free shit rather than freedom.” He went on to say, “The cartoonists are doing the job the mainstream media hacks will not do. Michael Ramirez, Lisa Benson and many others have continually skewered the alien usurper with aplomb and incisive visual wit.” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about an extra-terrestrial usurper.

Moving on to how he came to be in Coupland, Jim said he had been working in New York City but that it was becoming untenable. Taxes were too high and he didn’t feel that he fit in anymore. He sold his building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for about $250,000 in 1994. It is worth $3 million now. He initially looked in Austin but spread out and found Coupland by accident.

IMG_2775Regarding life in Coupland, Jim says he likes the attitude of the Coupland community in that they like to live and let live. He is the president of the Coupland Water Supply Corporation, which, despite its name, is all about wastewater. He feels that he should be involved and give back to the community, since he never served in the military, but he says he is too claustrophobic to be a part of the volunteer fire department.

He eventually set up a tax-free foundation (Huntington Sculpture Foundation) as a way to preserve his art. Everything is for sale and eventually, after he passes, sales of his work will go to perpetuate the foundation itself.

The work he has done since the foundation was formed belongs to the foundation but older sculptures can be sold outside of the foundation. Regardless, whatever is accumulated in his lifetime, will become part of the foundation at his death.

He doesn’t regret not having children and he has no heirs. He is hoping that perhaps after he is gone the community will take it over but the foundation will remain exclusively his work. Maintenance of the grounds will be the big issue after he is gone. He says, “If it matters, God will see that it survives.”

With regard to his work, he said he did not like being a student or a teacher. He just likes doing his art. He taught at Lehman College and Hunter College of City University of New York in the 1970s. He talks about how he had just been awarded a CUNY faculty research grant but simultaneously got notice that he was being laid off, along with a few thousand others. He had to spend $12,000 in a few days. He got the job done.

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He says that you must have passion for what you do. He recalled a former student who was gifted but who said she couldn’t give up the comforts to which she was accustomed to be a serious artist. It was good that she realized that early on.

One of his dearest, oldest friends is an artist who did “1000 Portraits of Hope” of those displaced or affected by the Fukushima disaster in Japan. His name is Naoto Nakagawa. Jim says he feels like they are twin sons of different mothers.

He senses a diminution of his physical power but he is surprised things are going so well. He is 72 now but says that ever since his arthroscopic surgery he has the shoulders of a 50-year-old. He does regular rehab exercises. He has complete range of movement in his shoulders and only occasionally has pain. He spoke very highly of Dr. Nathan Breazeale at Austin Sports Medicine Clinic, who saw him through this process.

Jim feels that his good health can be attributed to attitude and gratitude. He says, “I don’t worry about what I don’t have and thank God for what I do have.” He is more interested in making sculptures than selling them. He works seven days a week and says, “I’m only interested in three things: eating, making love (when I was younger…sigh), and making art.”

We talked about spaces. I have always been fascinated by how human beings can create spaces and how those spaces affect our psyches. Jim loves internal spaces. He loved building forts as a kid. He is especially interested in stone and space. He likes to “make a space palpable.” He has much regard for Gaston Bachelard, whom he describes as “a typical French philosopher.” He was influenced by one of his works called, “The Poetics of Space.” You can find some of Jim’s own musings on space on the foundation website, huntingtonsculpture.org, under the section called “Writings.”

Kaliska Spencer enjoys one of the sculptures with her father, Jason. She says this piece reminds her of the giant stone that appears to walk away in the first selection of Walt Disney's Fantasia, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J. Bach.

Kaliska Spencer enjoys one of the sculptures with her father, Jason. She says this piece reminds her of the giant stone that appears to walk away in the first selection of Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

He very much appreciates the ineffable qualities of art. I recently sat on one of the pieces in the sculpture garden, which is open to the public, as my granddaughter ran around from one piece to the next, looking for hiding places. When you just drive or walk by and give the garden a quick glance, you see a lot of carved stone and formed metal. It wasn’t until I read his essay called, “Space The Final Frontier or the Third Element,” and watched the delight of a three-year-old that I really began to allow the various manifestations of the artist’s work to sink in.

About two weeks prior, we had visited the garden with some friends from out of town, while the kids ran around. That was when I first realized that I could have been taking my granddaughter to play in the garden all this time — and especially when it was cooler. One of our friends commented on her impression that the overall theme of the garden was repetitious. I think the implication was that it was therefore unimaginative. But after talking to Jim, reading his essay and seeing how children were so attracted to the pieces, I let go of my preconceptions of what art should be and simply allowed myself to be open the emotional and intellectual impressions that were evoked in me by the amazing variety of all the different shapes, colors, and textures.

I am reminded of how people are all so similar in appearance and yet the variety of detail makes everyone uniquely identifiable. Now I realize that I am going to have to figure out how I can get one of those pieces for myself. In the meantime, I plan to spend more time in the garden.

The Huntington Sculpture Foundation is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year by voluntary donations. On most days, the artist is working on the pad in front of the studio building.

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