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Joseph La Piana Celebrates his Park Avenue Artworks With a Dinner

Joseph La Piana Celebrates his Park Avenue Artworks With a Dinner 1


A group of art enthusiasts made their way on Tuesday night to The Pool for a cocktail party in celebration of Joseph La Piana’s latest achievement, Tension Sculptures. The work—made up of five large-scale, primary yellow–colored sculptures forged from durable synthetic rubber and stretched between stainless steel armatures—inhabits five corners of Park Avenue in Manhattan, between 53rd and 70th streets. And one of the corners was conveniently located right outside The Pool for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

After taking in the vibrant works, party attendees snacked on tuna tartare toasts, mini sliders, and crab cakes, all to be washed down by The Pool’s famous—but dangerous—jalapeño martinis. The crowd, from Todd Bishop to Eric Shiner to Michele Oka Doner, was indeed having a blast, and everyone mingled excitedly, jumping from one familiar face to another.

Despite the excitement of the evening, La Piana seemed at ease, exhibiting a sense of gratitude and pride. When I met him, it was instantly apparent he’s the kind of guy who makes anyone he talks to feel as though they were the only person in the room. Throughout the evening, I watched as he walked one curious partygoer after another through his personal journey and artistic process.

“The Tension Sculptures are part of the DNA of all my previous work,” he explained. “Anytime I create, there is an investigation of past and present—a tension in the culmination.” The exuberant curator Stacy Engman chimed in: “But this time it feels so optimistic. Like a cacoon!” La Piana agreed: “I refer to these sculptures as living sculptures; they are in a state of tension, just like all of us here—politically, environmentally, socially—we’re being pushed to the point of collapse.” He continued, “Yet there’s optimism and hope in the fact that these sculptures aren’t breaking; they’re supporting you.”

Jennifer McSweeney, one of the night’s hosts, celebrated the fact that despite the inherent tension in the work, there was also a sense of delicacy and freshness. “Joseph is self-taught and has an energy that has really blossomed—just like how Tension Sculptures have blossomed on the mall of Park Avenue!” It was a treat as New Yorkers wait for the avenue’s famous cherry-red and yellow tulips to bloom.



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