2002-06-01 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio by Susan Hartenstein

From The Artists Studio by Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance

Monumental sculpture comes to Rockaway! Have you looked over to Riis Landing lately? Seen a large object you can’t quite identify? Chances are, what you are seeing is a work in progress by well-known sculptor Peter Lundberg, the creative force behind placing outdoor sculpture in and around Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Connecticut and an associate of world famous sculptor Mark di Suvero, founder of Socrates Sculpture Park. After being introduced to Lundberg by Queens Council on the Arts, Rockaway Artists Alliance invited him to create a sculpture at the landing to be completed in time for Art Frenzy weekend, June 8 and 9. The piece will continue to grace the site after Art Frenzy is over. It will be fabricated from concrete and stainless steel and will look somewhat similar to the sculpture pictured in the photograph accompanying this column.

What is present on Riis Landing as of this writing is the form for Lundberg’s sculpture. It is made of stainless steel and rebar, which reinforces concrete. There is a mold around the form. Surrounding all this is sand to support the mold. Once the concrete is poured this sand, as well as supporting wood, will go. What will remain will be the stainless steel and concrete shape, which will eventually be stood upright. The concrete has been generously donated by Quadrozzi Concrete Corporation.

Peter Lundberg started as a ceramicist, an art he still practices. He also paints and draws. For Lundberg, working in concrete was a natural extension of working in clay. As his forms grew larger, clay was no longer practical. Concrete is a more permanent material and there is no limit to the size to which the sculpture can go. Concrete would not crack, as clay would, in a piece beyond a certain size. In addition, one could not fire a clay sculpture beyond a certain size. He modifies the concrete with fibers and pigment. For the piece at Riis Landing, Peter was influenced by the setting. He had already made the basic form, but it still needed work done to it. When he came to Rockaway, he realized that this was the perfect form to use here. It has swirling shapes that looked to him like seashells.

The town of Bridgeport, Connecticut asked Peter Lundberg to put sculptures in its vast Seaside Park overlooking Long Island Sound, and inside and outside the town. The sculptures, most of which are monumental, are by an international roster of renowned artists that include Mark di Suvero, Bernar Venet, Claes Hake, Gutzon Borglum, as well as Lundberg. Alan Fox, executive director of the Arts and Music Center for Humanity in Bridgeport, calls this "a living museum." Fox initiated the outreach to Lundberg. Peter says this is an overwhelming project, but an incredible opportunity. He has been involved in sculpture parks his whole life. This is a chance to create his own. Still at the beginnings of this project, he is receiving local support from business, government and the public.

Lundberg has a tugboat and crane and is a licensed crane operator in New York City. He feels Rockaway is a wonderful area and would like to bring other sculptors here to consider installing their work. The pieces could be transported by waterway, as is being done for Bridgeport. Peter comments on the local residents and visitors who stop to talk to him while he works at Riis Landing. They are very enthusiastic about what he is doing and he has learned much from them about Rockaway.

Peter Lundberg sits on the side of the mound of sand surrounding his artwork, gazing out admiringly over the sparkling expanse of Jamaica Bay. When asked what excites him about his art, Lundberg replies, "Making sculpture is like dreaming." He explains that, one dreams up the piece. The execution of the work is the opportunity to play out the fantasy.


  • Free – RAA/Brooklyn Watercolor Society "paint-out/workshop – June 15 (rain date: June 22). Meet at 11 a.m. at sTudio 6, Fort Tilden. RAA and BWS members only. Contact RAA for info and if you wish to participate. You can direct all Email to RockArt116@aol.com.
  • Movies by Moonlight – free - classic films under the stars. June 21: "Some Like It Hot," June 22: "The Wizard of Oz." Shorts. Start: 8:45 p.m. More than ever, we are all looking for that feeling of sanctuary that is "There’s no place like home."
  • "Lend Me a Tenor" - May 31 to June 22 – Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees June 9 and 16. Post Theater, Fort Tilden. Come laugh your head off!
  • Art Frenzy – June 8 and 9 – Art, music, and performance in Fort Tilden that includes RAA’s galleries, outdoor sculpture and Rockaway Moon stage. Open mics, children’s parade, and scenes from the Little Globe Theater, yoga, dance and much more. Don’t miss this huge Rockaway event!

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