The idea goes beyond playful humor (though it is difficult to walk through this show without smiling) when you notice that every sphere is made from the actual material that it references: the tile is tile, the cobblestone is stone, and so on – requiring the artist to dream and create in nearly EVERY sculptural material known to man.
The exhibition takes it’s title (“Lars Fisk: Mr. Softee”) from this ice cream truck sculpture! Lars is most known for his vehicle spheres constructed from modified auto parts with custom glass, decals and more. That series (and the whole “sphere idea”) sprang from an initial effort to represent a street as a contained sculptural object – choosing a sphere as the most logical shape. The street balls soon inspired vehicle balls – a VW bug, a school bus, a UPS truck, a John Deer Tractor, and this great video of him making a Winnebago van.
Three Stop Balls feature the mosaic patterns of New York subway stops and range in size from 2 to 3 feet in diameter. Beyond color matching and tile cutting, it looks like a good portion of the tiles had to be custom made from scratch. From left to right above: Spring Street (6 train), Sheridan Square, and 23rd Street.
Tree Ball rests on a shelf opposite the entrance. The sculpture lists only “wood and bark” as the materials, so I assume that he carved a perfect wood sphere onto which he meticulously jigsaw-puzzled bark? Which is crazy good.
Street Ball (Cobble) is nearly 4 feet in diameter and lists “steel, granite, and bronze” as the materials. It rests next to the 2-foot diameter Trash Can Ball, made only from nickel plated steel.
T&S Self Storage Warehouse First Month Free Ball (pictured center right) is made from steel, concrete, and paint. It stands over 6 feet tall, but is FAR from the largest sculpture in the show… just around that corner.
Lot Ball towers at an overwhelming 15 feet in diameter, sculpted from asphalt (with a polystyrene core) and takes inspiration from the “Queens Costco parking lot” (near my apartment). It’s appropriate that his largest sculpture to date continues his initial “street series”.
Finally, I didn’t even notice these 3 tiny sculptures on my first visit (they share the room with the asphalt mega ball). These pencil balls range in size from 5/16 to 11/16 of an inch and are exactly what you think they are: wood, graphite, metal, and rubber.
Since my first visit to this show, I’ve been on a personal quest to locate the source material for every one of his sculptures. The first one happened by accident in Chinatown with this Mister Softee Truck (below), then yesterday I visited 2 “Spring Street” subway stops to find the right mosaic (it’s the 6 line, not the C/E line). Fisk’s sculpture is impressive in its own right, but also inspires a new appreciation and respect for every square foot of craftsmanship in New York City.
All images photographed by the author, David Behringer, courtesy Marlborough Chelsea New York.