ART in NATURE: Aldeaduero, Spain – Angel Orensanz Territory

Art in Nature and the ‘Orensanz Territory’ – Aldeaduero, Spain

News Update: Angel Orensanz at Aldeaduero, Spain – March 2014

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Angel Orensanz with the President of the Council of Salamanca Javier Iglesias at the dedication of the Orensanz Territory.

This past Monday, March 17, 2014, we at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts celebrated the inauguration of the “art in nature”-focused Orensanz Territory in Aldeaduero, Spain. The distinguished honor was bestowed upon sculptor Angel Orensanz in respect to his commissioned environmental art work in the beautiful regional landscape of the Spanish countryside.

Since the release of this announcement, photo documentation has poured in from the Spanish media coverage of the Aldeaduero region and the Orensanz Territory. Television and Online News reporters swarmed to the artist and the honored guests in attendance for the inauguration which included the President of the Council of Salamanca, Javier Iglesias and the Director of Tourism for Castilla and Leon.

Scroll down for the latest images of this incredibly special event.

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Angel Orensanz presents a copy of his book and other publications to President of the Council Javier Iglesias.

Press and honoree Angel Orensanz congregate beneath the artist’s “Mountain Sculpture.”

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Gathering of media attendants documenting the inaugural speech at the Orensanz Territory.

Sculptor Orensanz addresses the media in Aldeaduero.

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Sculptor Angel Orensanz converses Castilla and Leon TV, under the watchful eyes of the President of the council, Javier Iglesias.

For more information about Territory Orensanz, art in nature, and the artist’s long history with the region of Aldeaduero, Spain, check out the newest Winter 2014 issue of ARTSCAPE Magazine, available now online or in print!

Aldeaduero, Spain: ART NEWS – The Angel Orensanz Territory

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Sculptor Angel Orensanz inspects the gorgeous views of Aldeaduero, Spain.

Aldeaduero, Spain Celebrates the Opening of the “Angel Orensanz Territory.”

March 17, 2014

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St. Patrick’s Day in New York City – courtesy of

Today, the city of New York celebrates St. Patrick’s Day through a blur of emerald sequins, shamrocks, certain green-tinted beverages, and of course, the grand tradition of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade that has drawn audiences to the streets of the city for over 250 years.

Southeast of the excitement that currently emanates from Fifth Avenue and 44th Street in Manhattan, the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts celebrates another milestone in the career of its founding artist and sculptor Angel Orensanz. On this day in Aldeaduero, Spain, the local government establishes the “Territory Orensanz” along the famed banks of the river Duero.

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A series of sculptures by Angel Orensanz in Aldeduero, Spain.

The ceremony kicks off in Aldeaduero, Spain at 1pm this afternoon and will be attended by honoree Angel Orensanz, as well as His Excellency the President of the Council of Salamaca, Francisco Javier Garcia Iglesias and the Director General of Tourism of Castilla and Leon, Javier Ramirez Utrilla. Mayors and members of civil authority of the Portuguese-Spanish border countries as well as provincial, regional, and national representatives of Spain congregate for an official presentation of the environmental art installations of Angel Orensanz in the region.

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A series of sculptures by Angel Orensanz in Aldeaduero, Spain.

The work presented in Aldeaduero, Spain was installed by Orensanz with heavy influences of film production and large-scale industrial architecture. The iconic platform upon which the pieces operate serve as “proto-structures with references to ancient structures and instruments” such as Totems or trees that recall both archaic use and futuristic technology. 

These tubular elements with which Orensanz utilizes space have an expressive value about them which is highly poetic, almost musical. In this way does the art work in tandem with the regional climate of Aldeaduero, Spain – one of water, body, wind and clouds, and especially timelessness.

From the Aldeaduero, Spain regional tourism website:

“Facing the background of the physical universe, this language of Orensanz, as a minimal archetype, becomes an humanistic and idealistic sculpture : one that mimics nature but does not seek to represent her entirely.Its value is that of all human endeavor, conscious of its own limits and its own outputs. It is a language in which to contemplate the human being can be sublimated in beauty and find a new hope.”

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View of the Aldeaduero river in Spain, with sculpture by Angel Orensanz in the foreground.

Angel Orensanz continues his long artistic career as one of the pioneer creatures of the new century, and this step in Spain of establishing the Territorio Orensanz solidifies his identity as a “global artist.”At present, Orensanz’s work continues from his studio Paris, as well as here at the Foundation on Norfolk Street,  in Manhattan, New York. Both sites will continue to serve in correspondence with one another, as aglobal showcase linked to the installations in Aldeaduero

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Sculptor Angel Orensanz creates a work of living photo-art with patient donkey in Aldeaduero, Spain.








Miami Art and Design: Miami Welcomes Sculptor Angel Orensanz


By: Tom Bellachio, 2014.

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Sculptor Angel Orensanz presents his work at the Miami Art and Design art fair in Feburary 2014.

Sculptor Angel Orensanz represents just one of a notable list of contemporary artists who have made Miami a favorite destination for development, production and public formulation the artistic mind.

Orensanz’s work was actively accessible and on display at the current Miami Art Fair (Booth 312), which included a mesmerizing anthology of his sculpture, painting, drawing and photography/video.

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Miami Art and Design 2014 fair presented the work of artists and galleries from across the international arts community.

His booth is one of the most visited at the Miami Art and Design fair; hundreds of experts, collectors, documentarians and visitors gathered in excitement over Angel Orensanz’s presence in the Southern metropolis.  This year, Orensanz presented bronze pieces, paintings, drawings and photography.  The common trait of his work is a subliminal, transcending magic that inserts into the visitor a universe of disturbing associations.

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Luis Bunuel – Angel Orensanz develops a new installation art piece in the lands of Spain featured in much of Bunuel’s work.

Angel Orensanz developed a deep and mutually supportive rapport with surrealist and photographeer Luis Bunuel. Both were born in Aragon and were attracted to Paris and New York. Presently, Orensanz is developing an open sculpture project in the same landscapes of Western Spain where Luis Bunuel shot his “Tierra sin pan”  (Land without Bread), not far from the frontier with Portugal.

Bunuel visited Angel  Orensanz’s studio and Foundation in New York, installed for the last 30 years in a building that was erected in the early 19th century and is the oldest synagogue building in Manhattan. Bunuel enjoyed that heartland of references and meanings.

Angel Orensanz enjoys Miami’s artistic openness and fervor. He has brought a trove of mythical reptiles cast in Miami, which are featured in his booth (#312) at the current Miami Art Fair. Besides his mesmerizing sculptures his booth is populated with paintings, drawings and photography.

His photography work at the Miami Art and Design fair displays how prominently the medium serves as the doorway to the inner mind of Angel Orensanz, through which we levitate in a universe of oniric and fantastic constellations.
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Theatre. We. LOVE – Ensemble Studio Theatre’s “Year of the Rooster”

“YEAR of the ROOSTER” – An EST/Youngblood Production – Eric Dufault asks you to “WAKE the F*#K UP!”

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The EST/Youngblood production of Eric Dufault’s ‘YEAR OF THE ROOSTER’ begins its extended run January 2014.

Theatre. We. LOVE at the Angel Orensanz Foundation sits down with the cast and crew of EST’s production of “Year of the Rooster.”

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

The wintry months of January and February mark my second anniversary with the City of New York. Most of my time was spent with one hand gripping onto the handrail of “back home” while I tried to skitter around the perimeter of the city on borrowed ice skates. I’m still here, surviving, but it has taken all of those two years for me to come around to letting go of the rail. I have let go, and it’s due almost entirely to the three-month-long relationship I’ve had so far with the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Youngbloods production of Eric Dufault’s Year of the Rooster.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the ArtsAs you’ll see by the title of this blog and subsequent headers, the point of my post is to tell you about all the brilliant, hilarious, inspiring things that the creative team of Rooster had to say when they generously sat down to talk to their fan (me) for an interview. I will do that. I promise. And let me tell you, sitting around a modestly-sized conference table surrounded by people whose transformations into warrior-roosters and  power-hungry McDonald’s managers – it can be pretty overwhelming.

Not to mention the fact that proximity to playwright Eric Dufault (in all of his humble, talented niceness) kind of makes you torn between wanting to hug and bake for him or beat his brains out in a jealous rage. At least then you could see close-up what the brains would look like of someone who can invite his audience into the world of cockfighting and middle-America and give it the grandeur of gladiators fighting in a Roman coliseum.

Grandeur, I need to add, made possible by director John Giampietro‘s excellent choice to underscore the action of the play with classical symphonies and fugues by Ludwig van Beethoven.

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Playwright Eric Dufault has always had a strong connection with animals, and much of his work incorporates the idea of “talking animals”, including the ongoing production of ‘YEAR OF THE ROOSTER’ at EST.

“I’ve always written plays that involve talking animals, including chickens,” Eric told me. He explained that he grew up surrounded by animals as a kid, chickens and roosters included. “But I read this book called Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some we Eat and that sparked the idea for Year of the Rooster. It included a section on cockfighting.”

Here’s a kicker. Rooster was the first play he’d written for the Youngbloods.

“I write pretty quickly,” he said.


Anyway, so this relationship – this three-month-long relationship I mentioned having with Year of the Rooster, it began back in the fall when the nightshift bartender from my favorite local pub – McCoy’s, on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen – showed me a graphic postcard advertising for the show at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. It’s this very image (at the top of this blog), the one of a rooster devised entirely out of matchsticks scorched to various degrees, that now graces the front of the program for the show.

The postcard instructed me to “Wake the F#$k Up.”

Which, honestly, I hadn’t managed to do yet since moving to the city two years ago. I figured I could use the caffeine.

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Ensemble Studio Theatre presents: Eric Dufault’s “Year of the Rooster”. Above (left to right): Delphi Harrington, Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit: Russ Kuhner

“The energy of this piece – it’s not something you watch. It’s something you go through,” EST’s Bobby Moreno said to me later. Bobby plays the character of Odysseus Rex aka ‘Odie.’ He’s the rooster you root for, the one who wants to murder the sun. You know. That one. “The structure of the play and the way the audience is arranged around it creates an inescapable intimacy in the experience.”

In other words, Dufault’s storyline and Giampietro’s direction wakes you the f$&k up.

By the end of the show, I was doubled over in pain. My stomach muscles were on fire with the pain of laughing way too much and way too loudly.

I didn’t know where I was for much of the production. We sat in a small, intimate theatre on the second floor of the EST building on W. 52nd, but with just a few, sparse blocks of furniture (and an amazingly accurate recreation of a McDonald’s restaurant), I was transported to middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma. Yet it was the physicality of the actors like Denny Dale Bess, an EST member since 2000 who plays Dickie Thimble in Rooster, as he strode through the space, cowboy-booted with a massive ten gallon-hat that transformed the location for me.

The production was so grounded and sincere in its commitment to each given circumstance – circumstances that grew more and more ridiculous and tragic as the plot progressed – that I forgot the Rooster world was one we can all agree is not “of us.” It’s an “other” world. Cock-fighting. Isolation. McDonald’s (both as an employee and gentically-modified chicken aka the brilliant Megan Tusing, I might add).

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EST’s “Year of the Rooster” – From left to right: Thomas Lyons, Denny Dale Bess, Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner

Suddenly, we’re all from Oklahoma. Which we are, in our own ways. We’re all from that town, the one Eric Dufault creates with the characters of Gil Pepper and his aging mother, Lou. With Philippa and Dickie Thimble.

Of course, Denny’s family actually does originate from Oklahoma, I learned later in our interview, and these ties created a special bond for him with the environment of Rooster.

“I know these small towns,” said Denny, “each character in this piece is a part of my family.” In fact, the actors and Eric told me Denny’s relationship with Oklahoma was in large part the reason for the creative choice to isolate the play in his home state.

 But my wake-up call continued.

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From the Ensemble Studio Theatre production “Year of the Rooster.” From left to right, Thomas Lyons and Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner.

I was already shifting uncomfortably in my seat by intermission as I realized I was watching something happen that I dreamed was possible someday for my own writing, my own performance. The stagecraft was genius, reality grounded, characters as specific and genuine as ink-stamped fingerprints. I won’t go on and on about the beauty of the roosters when they really start to rage. It’s like watching a fully-staged battle scene in the opera, Carmen, but it’s just two guys and a bucket of feathers. You have to see what fight director Qui Nguyen came up with for the fight scenes in Rooster. You just have to.

But the wake-up call, it continued long after I had exited the theatre, having trouble focusing on my feet as I descended the stairs to the street, program clutched in my fingers.

I remember calling my mom (because who else do you call when you have one of your twentysomethings’ revelations about life?) as I walked to McCoy’s and telling her I’d found artists, real artists – the ones that create universes out of nothing, the ones who give everything of themselves to it without a thought. As much as I felt it, as a witness, imagine how the actors feel it every night they come together.

“I’ve never been involved in a cast where they show up two hours early to a call to do a line-through,” said Megan Tusing (seen below) during my sit-down. “They never do this show at less than 110-percent.”

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EST’s “Year of the Rooster” – from left to right: Megan Tusing and Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner.

Stage Manager of Rooster Eileen Lalley, who calls such a tight show every night that I’m barely conscious of the passage of time, quickly added to this. “I’ve seen this show over a hundred times. I never get tired of it. I never sit in the dark checking my email, killing time. I can’t. The show always changes every night.”

EST member Thomas Lyons (Gil Pepper) pointed to his face, which had a pretty impressive shiner on the day of our interview and said, “Look at my face. This show doesn’t work on cruise control.”

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EST Member Denny Dale Bess in “Year of the Rooster” as Dickie Thimble. From the Unfiltered Production.

Watch Thomas for ten minutes as he battles with Megan, Denny, and his deliciously degrading mother played by the fabulous Delphi Harrington, and you see what he means.

EST has been operating for over forty years in New York City, developing new theatre in America to the tune of 6,000 new titles throughout their history. Programs like Youngbloods for playwrights under 30 serve to keep this mission alive.

We’re not blind to it. Budgets hurt. Theatre suffers as we suffer as the economy suffers, and there are no gymnasts flying from the rafters of EST dressed in spandex and shooting webs from their wrists.

I know I sat there among the actors and creative team, gushing about EST and Year of the Rooster, without a real clue of the difficulties and challenges behind keeping even such a historic company as the Ensemble Studio Theatre afloat.

I know, I know. I know. It’s tough. It’s tough as nails. We’re all roosters in a ring in New York City, fighting the biggest, meanest mother of a bird we’ve ever been up against.

But that art like Rooster can exist? Can be born into the world of commercialism on stage and celebrity-driven box office revenue and survive? And thrive? Here?


I guess it’s time to let go of the hand-rail, Zoe. It will all skate right past you if you don’t.

 Like I said, wake-up call.

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EST’s “Year of the Rooster” left to right: Bobby Moreno and Thomas Lyons. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner

So it’s been three months now, and I’ve followed with proud fanaticism the progress of the extension of Year of the Rooster at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. I see the team passing through McCoy’s every now and then and each time I unabashedly sprint towards them and repeat the same garbled lines of “being super excited to see it” when it re-opens.

They’re mercifully patient with me, but I think it’s because we see the same thing when we see that rooster devised of burned matchsticks. We see possibility. We see fire and power and drive. We see the future of art and theatre. And despite the cold and the money and the work and the fatigue, we know that we’re a part of it.

We’re part of that message that EST and thousands of other theatre artists are screaming throughout New York City:

Wake. The. F#^k. Up.

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Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Setting the Stage: New Year’s Eve 2013 in Times Square

Setting the Stage: Times Square at New Year’s Eve

A closer look at the spectacle of Times Square on December 31st.

By: Al Orensanz, Ph.D and Zoe V. Speas

, The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

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The spectacle of Times Square at New Year’s Eve 2013 consumes the attention of viewers of all ages.

In 1904, the owners of One Times Square assembled parties of friends and co-workers on the rooftop of their building to ring in the New Year. Three years later, in 1907, the first ceremony of lowering the Ball was held in the iconic heart of Manhattan. Tomorrow night, over a century later and in the face of biting cold and ungodly congestion, the tradition continues.

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The New Year’s Eve Ball, made of Waterford Crystal, which will descend at 11:59pm on December 31st.

New Year’s Eve throws Times Square into the spotlight as the single point upon which the urban attention and media distribution of the world focuses as a beacon of celebration for the holiday. The city center becomes a international center, and, despite the performances and A-list appearances, it will be the sea of people gathered along Broadway and Seventh Avenue who are the true stars of the show.

They will make the stage of New Year’s Eve come alive and millions of eyes across America will watch the last few seconds of 2013 tick away with them, wishing they stood beneath the downpour of confetti and flashing 
lights. They are why, for those last ten seconds of the previous year, Times Square becomes the center of the universe. The people.

Paris has fashion. Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe encompass the city of London. St. Peter’s Square has been the cornerstone of Rome for centuries, as with the Acropolis in Athens. But in New York, the energy of the people within provide the city with its most famous trademark. New York City is not the capital of the United States, nor even the State, itself. The people – regardless of personality or social strata – are the character of the town that has sealed its renown.

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The people create the character and the energy of the city, and not just in Times Square on New Year’s.

The official event lineup features live performances such as Blondie, Miley Cyrus, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis; John Lennon’s Imagine, to be performed by Melissa Etheridge, is another beloved classic. Traditional Chinese performances featuring Kung Fu and a colorful fan dance will kick off the festivities early in the evening. The celebration also will be highlighted with exclusive trailers and clips featuring views of Times Square and the surrounding neighborhood.

The backdrop for the festivities tomorrow night will consist of over a hundred buildings coated “from the crown to the toe top full” of neon advertisements and billboards. Thousands of LED lights illuminate Times Square, making it a fully-functional, 24/7 commercial advertising theme park of giant, electronic ad/art that render the buildings they cover completely unidentifiable. Even in “ordinary time”, the buildings along Times Square operate as embodiments of virtual information, carrying very little relativity to the tenants within as opposed to the advertisements assigned to them. The immersive experience of Times Square at New Year’s Eve, as well as the live recording of the night’s events, create blissful accomplices of those assembled beneath the world’s most spectacular advertising strategy.

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New York City at New Year’s Eve.

However, another layer of the visual and perceptual experience of New Year’s Eve at Times Square must be accounted for – the generation of advertisements originating directly from national television networks which are delivered into the living rooms of viewers throughout America and beyond. The messages transmitted through pixels and sound-bytes are intermingled with the physical world and surround the crowds beneath the crystal ball, those gathered around a television at home, or at their local watering hole, blocks away from the hub of it all.

Tomorrow night, Times Square will transform even more potently into a vortex of action and movement for its New Year’s Eve celebration. Technicians and cameramen from New York networks synchronize the activities of the Square among the people, upon the stages, and from the microphones of honored speakers who preside over the event. The reporters and cameramen who supply video feed will move rapidly and efficiently through the crowds, engaging with them in repetitious spurts of gratitude and celebration. The snapshots of the crowds, when viewed remotely, provide the international audiences with the visual representation of their own emotions: smiling, static faces, undulating hands and arms, cameras held high, holiday truisms and well-wishes.

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The fluorescence of New Year’s Eve at Times Square, New York.

The phones in the hands of these representatives feed parallel worlds of messaging and communication systems; there are tens of thousands of smart phones, twitter networks, and Facebook accounts documenting the event from innumerable personal perspectives.

The various elements that create the unique atmosphere of Times Square on New Year’s Eve will change and evolve throughout the progress of the night and its proximity to the sixty-second descent of the Ball at 11:59pm on December 31, 2013.

The only element of permanence in the night, other than the overwhelming joy and hopefulness of a population at the start of a new year, is the backdrop of the city, the enveloping architecture, and the direct flow of communication and advertisement for the multimillion vieweres throughout the world following and celebrating the event from the comfort of their homes.

Taxi Cab: New York City from the Rear Seat

THE REAR SEAT: Answering Questions and Asking Questions.

The Journey of a New York City Taxi Cab

By: Al Orensanz, PhD; Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

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The New York City taxi cab serves as a conduit between destinations, but also the interwoven lives of individuals within them.

Most of our day-to-day information accumulates through idle conversations, and it infiltrates our awareness unexpectedly. We interact constantly and randomly with people who talk to us or who listen to us. We are educated through radio and TV broadcasts, and we are constantly alerted by our cellular phones, iPad messages, radio transmissions and commercial ads blinking from the skyscrapers. Throughout the city, we are exposed to taxi cab drivers, vendors, compatriots, old colleagues, spouses, children, receptionists relatives and neighbors.

We traverse the city by taxi cab. Points of interest are brought in by the kaleidoscope of the streets, advertisements, shop windows. The curiosity grows and a decision has to be made: should I engage or retreat? I still have some 30-odd minutes of taxi traveling left. Let me ask the driver. He is most likely talking on a device that I do not see.

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“Light Matter” by Angel Orensanz. The commute, even by taxi cab, can be the venue for inspiration and art.

Darkness engulfs us both. He has the front window available to scout and evaluate traffic strategies. I can see the sides but not my rear window view. My options are very limited. His are much wider and diversified. The driver initiates a conversation with me. The surroundings act as a backdrop. Our conversation gets more intense and specific as our trip progresses. The backdrop of the city moves and evolves as traffic weaves around us, providing context. The centerpiece of the discourse is a reservoir of memories, references, adapted anecdotes that are formulated and adapted to this specific moment and circumstance.

You never ride a taxi twice; you never talk to the same taxi driver twice. The streets are the same, and the buildings blur and dissipate in the immediacy or the distance. The speed renders the faces imperceptible. My attention splits and divides as I interact coincidentally with the driver and the city around me: on-going conversation is syncopated and distracted every few seconds.

Inside a New York City taxi cab, the darkness surrounds both parties. Conversation is either inevitable or avoided at all costs

Inside a New York City taxi cab, the darkness surrounds both parties. Conversation is either inevitable or avoided at all costs

The questions and answers are all stereotypical. We do not see faces but we hear our voices. With that alone, we can establish a bridge of communication. Obviously, our allocated time is short; the view of our faces is limited therefore is not engaging. The context of the streets and roads we circulate speeds ahead of us fast and uncompromising. There is very limited time for self and mutual exploration. Most of the time we instinctually agree on a common subject matter inconsequential for both sides.

The last moments of engagement come when the trip is ended; and we both descend. These are very short moments, seconds, of the encounter. But they are crucial, ceremonial and engaging.

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“Light Matter” by Angel Orensanz. The voyage as a source of inspiration.

While the departure from inside the taxi is uneventful, the farewell is reduced for the most part to the paying of the fare. The departure at the airport is marked by the eventful ceremonial of many other departures and arrivals: the suitcases, the trunks, the flowers bouquets, the gift-wrapped boxes, and the garments.

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The New York City taxi cab.

The departure within the city streets and the departure at the airport have very different ceremonials for both the driver and the passenger. The taxi ride within the city has the specific limits of a domestic movement that remain within the domain of the immediate. The trip to the airport has the flare of a departure away from the confines of the routine, the familiar and the controllable.

We never look back to the departing taxi cab as it pulls into the street, having deposited us at our requested destination. The expensive and weary routine has been completed. Whether en route to an airport or twenty blocks home from work, the departure from the rear seat, from the interplay of questions and answers, results in a ever-hopeful forward glance to the journey ahead.

In the Steps of Gargallo: Figurative Monuments in Metal Sculpture

In the Steps of Gargallo: Figurative Monuments in Metal Sculpture  

By: Al Orensanz, PhD., Director - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts  

Abstract or figurative? This was the disjunction with which all the artists of the time were faced, and even though pictorial modernity in Spain had for some time already been inclined to informalism, sculpture artist Angel Orensanz followed the cautious steps of his admired Pablo Gargallo and Julio González, and those of so many other more recent sculptors that also vacillated between the abstract or figurative.

This was especially true if such artists aspired to dedicate themselves to monumental sculpture, since this type of commission is almost always given by the authorities, who in the Spain of that time were not as open and modern as some more advanced private or corporate patrons.

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Monumento a la Jacetania. Ángel Orensanz. Monumental sculpture. 1969.

It is thus not at all surprising that it was for a private collector, owner of a sculpture park in Bellaterra (Barcelona), that the first totally abstract exempt monument erected by Angel Orensanz emerged in 1969: a menhir of 7 meters in height which he executed in two blocks of stone, working by carving directly into grooves and irregularities, which this time were not reserved only to the upper parts, but also extended throughout the lower parts.

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“Monumenta a la Jota” – Angel Orensanz. Sculpture. 1970. Spain.

In contrast, on September 25, 1970, feast day of the patron saint of the village, Angel ORensanz inaugurated in Albalate del Arzobispo (Teruel) his Monumento a la Jota (Monument to the Jota), in which for a change the abstract geometries remained confined to a tall poured-cement podium.

This serves simultaneously as a backdrop for the ground level statue of a well-built singer of jotas, and as a podium on which are raised those of a pair of young dancers: they are once again hieratic figures —something striking in the representation of joteros, even though the dance of Albalete is known for its grace.   They are formed of geometric planes, like those of the Saragossan monuments to the Mother and to Tío Jorge; but this time Orensanz uses for the first time cut and welded steel plates, marking out planes and hollows in a style derivative of the cubism which was so widespread in the Spain of the transition and the start of democracy, one of whose most tenacious exponents would be the Aragonese José Gonzalvo. This said, the model for this solemn mastery in the evocation of volume based on plates and striking hollows was none other than Pablo Gargallo, Aragonese sculptor well known to Orensanz, since he had dedicated to Gargallo,

sculpture - Angel Orensanz - Pablo Gargallo

“The Great Prophet.” 1933 (bronze) – Pablo Gargallo. Sculpture.

We can say that Gargallo’s splendid Gran Profeta (Great Prophet) has, as adopted sons, two colossi of imposing beards and manes made by Angel Orensanz for the cities of Jaca and Monzón.   The Monumento a la Jacetania (Monument to the Lands of Jaca), raised in 1969 in the square of Biscós in Jaca, is a gigantic titan 7 meters in height and more than two tons in weight, which represents in concrete and steel a pilgrim of the Road to Santiago. The figure’s facial expression shares the limelight with a model of the cloister of the monastery of San Juan de la Peña carried in an offertory gesture with arms outstretched, also in steel. In the lower part, below an oculum of Romanesque reminiscences, the pillars that evoke his body have on each side of a split which represents the Aragon river crosssing the Jacetania in vertical alignment, four sculptural vignettes decorated with fired-enamel gold paint, in which are paid homage other typical elements of the region.

sculpture - Angel Orensanz

“Monumento a la Jacetania.” Sculpture. Angel Orensanz.

These include the Holy Grail of San Juan de la Peña, the Cathedral of Jaca, The Book of La Cadena and musical instruments—and also a modern industry as well as an skier (of which he also made a larger version, with welded iron plates, which has been in the exhibition Los Orensanz de Orensanz).

sculpture - Angel Orensanz

“Monumento a Joaquín.” Costa Monzón, Huesca, Spain. Angel Orensanz. Sculpture. 1978.

His Monumento a Joaquín Costa (Monument to Joaquín Costa) in his native city of Monzón is also colossal: in this case the homage to Gargallo’s largest and most well known sculpture is even more evident, since the celebrated deputy raises his arms like a prophet preaching. This imagery is not typical in any picture of Costa, but is very appropriate for the staging of the “Grito del Agua”, when every September 14th social groups of all kinds gather before the monument in homage to the great apostle of regeneration and irrigation. His strange gesticulating figure in plates of enameled steel presides over the Avenue of Lérida from a podium of coffered concrete, before some pillars, also of concrete, which serve as a visual backdrop on the other side of the fountain.

Once again then, a very stage-like composition in two parts, like in the monuments to Tío Jorge and the Jota, although the style here is already very different, much more abstract than figurative, since it is of much later date, for it was inaugurated by the local authorities on September 21, 1978, as is stated on the identifying plaque. This same plaque alludes to the financing of the work by CAMPZAR, a savings entity which a few years later would place works by Ángel Orensanz in front of their Saragossa headquarters.

ARTSCAPE Magazine Now Available!

It’s here! The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts proudly presents the latest issue of ARTSCAPE Magazine.

Now available for print or online subscription, ARTSCAPE Magazine is LIVE and ready for you to download today.

Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts - ARTSCAPE magazine

The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts – ARTSCAPE Magazine Summer/Fall Edition

ARTSCAPE Magazine reflects the cultural and artistic activities of the Angel Orensanz Foundation, a Manhattan-based organization for the arts and culture. Operating out of a beautiful, gothic-inspired building designed by Alexander Saeltzer in 1849, the Foundation seeks to reflect and maintain the artistic energy that pervades the New York City community.

Our magazine serves as a conduit between the affairs of the Foundation and the network of producing artists and innovators throughout New York City. By presenting content that relates art to implications of society and global culture, ARTSCAPE provides up-to-date arts-news coverage in the universally accessible format of vivid imagery and engaging texts. The goal remains, as always, to spark conversation and foster connectivity in an ever-expanding and ever-changing city.

ARTSCAPE magazine - Angel Orensanz Foundation

ARTSCAPE magazine – in print and available for purchase at The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts. Photo credit – Alexa Eskinazi

This edition features a collection of all-new reports on the arts scene in New York City and beyond. 

ARTSCAPE Magazine Articles Include:

  • Sacred Space: Art in Non-Neutral Environments
  • Language, Mind and Memory
  • Building an Art Paradise
  • Origins: The Influence of Space and History on the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Visit the Angel Orensanz Foundation homepage for more information about the Foundation and upcoming issues of ARTSCAPE Magazine and our NEWSLETTER!

Banksy Street Art: The End of an Era

The End of an Era: A month of Banksy Street Art in New York

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Banksy Street Art residence in New York City - from October 27 in Greenpoint.

Banksy street art residence in New York City – from October 27 in Greenpoint.

October has been a busy month in the art world. We had a government shutdown, a Banksy street art residence, and consequent reactions ranging from outrage to a revitalization of  the question of defining art.

It all ties together, really, and that’s what I wanted to talk about before Halloween hits us full-force tonight and it’s November before we know it or remember how it came upon us so quickly.

banksy street art

The shutdown. Remember when that happened?

(Hey.  Remember when THIS happened?)

The first piece I wrote for the Angel Orensanz Foundation was a discussion about the definition of art, creatively entitled, “What is Art?” I scratched it out in a pitifully banged-up notebook during the long train ride from Richmond, VA to Penn Station, NYC.

I talked about how art is fundamentally dramatic—there are countless full-length theatrical dramas and comedies featuring characters that are artists or connoisseurs of art because of this quality. Whatever definition you assign to art, I believe it must allow for the drama and the conflict that is created by putting brush to canvas, hands to clay, etc. We thrive off of this drama, we need it, and we live for it because it illustrates the constant questions that percolate beneath the surface in us from day to day.

banksy street art - angel orensanz

Tahir Square. Angel Orensanz. Politics in art.

Too bad our society isn’t crafted to allow for the necessity of art.

In fact, we spend a lot of effort and money marginalizing art into something to do with leisure or entertainment. But there’s a difference—a monstrosity of a difference—between leisure/entertainment and art. Leaving the theatre after a production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal or Shakespeare’s Richard III, I’m certainly not at my leisure. Entertained? More like slapped in the face by humanity.

By the way, those productions I just listed? Totally playing right now in NYC. Check them out. You’re welcome.

So, of course, when the government shut down for the first time in seventeen years, what’s the first thing to be cut from funding?

banksy street art

Always the first thing to go: shutting down the museums, shutting down the government.

The National Endowment for the Arts. In other words, the museums—the culture hubs, the “non-essentials.”

And in the middle of that conflict, Banksy comes to New York City for a self-curated artist’s residence and stirs the pot for us.

Banksy - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts - New York City

Banksy street art at Yankee Stadium. October 30, 2013.

Banksy’s street art residency is called “Better Out Than In: an Artist’s Residency on the Streets of New York”, and beneath the stencil-outline header, a quote from Paul Cézanne triumphs the mission statement of the work.

All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.

I’ll say that perhaps the “outside” to which Cézanne referred might be of a slightly different context than the interpretation apparent in the Banksy street art, but in terms of impact? Banksy’s been spot-on.

banksy street art

“Better Out Than In” – Bansky street art residence in NYC. October 2013.

All of a sudden art—regardless of how you define it—emerges as a buzzword, a hot topic, the spark that ignites a city of people, young and old, desperate for a cause to impassion them enough to speak out.

It’s impassioned me, anyway.

I’ve spoken to gallery owners, artists, event planners, businessmen, and students about Banksy street art in New York this past month and I encountered no one who had nothing to say, no comment to add. In fact, the topic has served as a jumping-off point to larger issues of politics and society and the boundaries that divide generation from generation.

For myself, I have always been loath to discuss political leanings with friends and acquaintances—the ensuing arguments inevitably evolve into a loop of misunderstanding and personal affront. I prefer to stay within the realm of art and theatre where I feel comfortable arguing my beliefs—and yes, maybe that makes me a coward, being afraid of engaging in a dispute for fear of defeat or humiliation.

banksy street art

Banksy’s Greenpoint portrait being painted over by a masked woman. Which is the graffiti – the Banksy street art or the silver paint obscuring it?

Graffiti does ruin people’s property and it’s a sign of decay and loss of control,” the mayor said, “Art is art, and nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am–you running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted.” 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, October 2013.

And yet, this October, I found myself spewing fire over the contradictions arising between vandalism and art, between art as a necessity and our unhesitating cessation of its funding when goings get tough, between the opinions of the Mayor of New York and the arts community of his city.

Banksy’s residence brought me to a single, perhaps obvious conclusion:

If I argued before that art is fundamentally dramatic, then it also must be deeply political.

I’m going to risk sounding like a college sophomore writing a term paper and quote the dictionary at you here—a definition of the word political“relating to relationships of power between people in an organization; to affairs of the state or government.”

Relationships of power between people. Yup. Sounds about right.

Art becomes the venue through which people can argue rights of individualism and power upon a level playing field. There are no mayors, governors, nor presidents: only personal expression and paintbrushes. And regardless of what you think of the Banksy street art and its artistic merits, his residence challenges us to question our relationship to one another, to our government, and to the city walls that house and protect us. 

Call it graffiti or call it art.

It was swift, it was dramatic, and it defined the month of October for me and countless other New Yorkers. Happy Holidays, everyone.

TEDx Lower East Side at the Angel Orensanz Foundation

TEDx Lower East Side at the Angel Orensanz Foundation

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation

TEDx Lower East Side comes to the Orensanz

TEDx Lower East Side comes to the Orensanz.

I’ve been watching TEDtalks forever. I rely on them constantly to fill me with inspiration and renewed purpose to pursue – uh, whatever it is I intend to pursue in life. That part’s a work in progress.

Point being: TED is brain food.

Favorite TEDtalk? Easy. Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career

TEDx Lower East Side

“Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy” – This is Lucy. Lucy wants a green lawn with a picket fence with a team of rainbow unicorns grazing inside it.

Actually, I’m not the first of my friends to report this talk  as one of their favorites.

Especially seeing as most of us between the ages of 21-30 have no real clue as to what we’re doing, if we’re being honest – there’s a particularly relevant Huffington Post article entitled Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy that speaks to this predicament.

It’s all about this formula:

TEDx Lower East Side

From the Huffington Post website: Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy.

TEDTalks and TEDx Lower East Side help with that, you know, the confusion thing? Somehow having visual and auditory proof that people out there have their stuff figured out makes you a little bit more confident that you’ll figure yours out, too.

TEDx Lower East Side

Angel Orensanz, founding artist of the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts.

But the thing about working at The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts is you have to learn to be content to watch from the sidelines as people from organizations around the world walk through our beautiful front gates and transform the space into a vessel for change, development, art, science, and the future. Whether it’s Target’s Launch of Chris March’s designs for Halloween or a fundraiser for the Lowline project,  - I peer out from the office in the corner of the great hall and watch with eyes wide as saucers as the place just explodes with life and innovations.

That’s me: the wallflower of the Orensanz. 

Until now. Forget sidelines. I’m jumping into the game on this one.

Why, you ask? Oh, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you.

TEDx Lower East Side is coming to THE ORENSANZ.

That’s right, folks. Lovers of knowledge from around the world rejoice. TEDx (in which x = independently organized TED event) is hosting their TEDx Lower East Side event at the Orensanz this Friday, October 25th between the hours of 11:00am and 8:30pm.

TEDx Lower East Side

From the TEDx website: TEDx Lower East Side comes to the Orensanz.

The TEDx Lower East Side event this Friday is entitled The Hero’s Journey and deals with the questions of why we are drawn to stories like Star Wars or The Matrix – basically, the journey of extraordinary people, or better yet, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Speakers in attendance may be found here with bios and links to more information on their background and speaking points. TEDx Lower East Side describes their mix of presenters as hailing “from a variety of backgrounds including scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, yogis, monks, educators and activists.”

Bring your brains and and prepare to melt them. I’ll be the one gnoshing on popcorn from the rafters with my ear pressed to the floor to listen in.