Historical Journal

Journal Archives,Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Archives,Reviews

Tom Butter: Sculpture

November 1, 1985
Judith Stein

A writer and curator, studied at Barnard College, and has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Eye of the Sixties, Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016). Her curatorial projects include Red Grooms, A Retrospective, for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Figurative Fifties, New York School Figurative Expressionism, co-curated with Paul Schimmel. Her exhibition, I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995, and earned a best catalogue award from AICA/USA. Her articles, interviews and reviews have appeared in Art in America, Art News, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Among her honors is a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a Pew Fellowship for literary non-fiction; and a Lannan Foundation writing residency in Marfa, Texas.

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"Special outdoor installations of his work have been part of the Hammarskjold Plaza Sculpture Garden, NY (1983), and Art Across the Park, Central Park, NY (1982)."

November 1 through December 29,1985
When it comes to the intimation of light, sculptors can’t hold a candle to the legerdemain of painters. Because they are dealing with actual rather than implied volumes, sculptors must employ real light to suggest light. Every once in a while a sculptor prestidigitator presents himself who is able to harness the literality of the medium, making a virtue out of necessity. Tom Butter is such an artist, a past master of translucent masses and radiant planes. Fabricating airy volume out of fiberglass and resin, Butter creates luminous forms with just a hint of an organic identification.
Judith Stein
Associate Curator and Coordinator,
Morris Gallery

The materials used for all work are fiberglass and resin; paint is incorporated in A.A. and S.C. With the exception of A.K., which, is on loan from Gregory Clark, NY, all work is shown through the courtesy of the artist and the Grace Borgenicht Gallery, NY.
S.C., 1985
92 x 40 x 23″
S.H., 1985
101 x 18 x 20″
A.A., 1985
88 x 24 x 20″
Nuts, 1985
77 x 33 x 58″
T.C.B., 1984
101 x 14″ dia.
M.R., 1984
99 x 9 x 29″
AX, 1984
92 x 18 x 18″
The artist will give an Informal talk on Friday, November 22, 1985, at noon.

Artist Biography
Born in Amityville, NY, in 1952, Tom Butter received his B.F.A. from Philadelphia College of Art in 1975 and his M.F.A. from Washington University, St. Louis, two years later. Since 1979 he has been teaching sculpture at PCA. Butter is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Grants for Emerging Artists (1980 and 1982). Special outdoor installations of his work have been part of the Hammarskjold Plaza Sculpture Garden, NY (1983), and Art Across the Park, Central Park, NY (1982).
One-person exhibitions have been held at the Lawrence Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia (1983,1984,1985) and the Grace Borgenicht Gallery, NY (1983,1984). Group shows include: Affiliations, Recent Sculpture and Its Antecedents, Whitney Museum, Stamford, CT (1985); Translucid, Sculpture at Washington Square, Washington, DC (1985); Transfiguration of the Minimal Style, Sculpture Center, NY (1984); Language, Drama Source and Vision, The New Museum, NY (1983); Intoxication, Monique Knowlton Gallery, NY (1983); American Abstraction Now, ICA, Virginia Museum (1982); Critical Perspectives, P.S. 1, Long Island City, NY (1982); Color, Light and Mass: Ten Sculptors, Hallwalls, Buffalo (1981); Art for the Eighties, Galerie Durban, Caracas, Venezuela (1980).
His work is in our own Academy collection as well as those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Chase Manhattan Bank; Prudential Insurance Company of America; and the Hospital Corporation of America, Nashville, TN.

Forgey, Benjamin, “Prismatic Showcase,” The Washington Post, April 25, 1985.
Martin, Richard, Arts, November 1984.
Raynor, Vivien, The New York Times, November 18,1984.
Goodman, Marilyn J.S., New Art Examiner, June 1984.
Donohoe, Victoria, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 14,1984.
Donohoe, Victoria, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 18,1984.
Raynor, Vivien, “Totem,” The New York Times, February 17,1984.
Kramer, Kathy, “Lifesigns,” Arts, February 1984.
Messinger, Lisa, “Notable Acquisitions,” 1982 – 84,” Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Linker, Kate, Artforum, November 1983.
Brenson, Michael, “Critics Choices,” The New York Times, August 21, 1983.
Saunders, Wade, Art in America, April 1983.
Lichtenstein, Therese, Arts Magazine, March 1983.
Levin, Kim, “Voice Choice,” Village Voice, January 12-18,1983.
Rifkin, Ned, New Work/New York, catalogue, The New Museum, 1982.
Russell, John, “New Work/New York,” The New York Times, March 19, 1982.
Boyd, Julia, American Abstraction Now, catalogue, The Institute of Contemporary Art of the Virginia Museum, 1982.
Silverthorne, Jeanne, “Butter/Burlin,” Artforum, October 1981.
Raynor, Vivien, “Butter/Burlin,” The New York Times, September 11, 1981.
Cohen, Ronny H., Drawing, Summer 1981, survey article.
Denson, Roger, Color, Light and Mass: Ten Sculptors, catalogue, Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY, 1981.
Huntington, Richard, “Color Mass, A Satisfying Show,” Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, NY, February 22,1981.
Cook, Scott, Art for the Eighties, catalogue, GaIerie Durban, Caracas, Venezuela, 1980.
Cohen, Ronny H., “Energism: An Attitude,” Artforum, September 1980.
The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling, or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Academy. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Cynthia Carlson, Bill Freeland, Ofelia Garcia, Dr. Helen Herrick, Jay Richardson Massey, Cheryl McClenney, John Moore, Eileen Rosenau, Mark Rosenthal; Academy staff Judith Stein, Morris Gallery coordinator, Frank Goodyear, Jr., Linda Bantel Kathleen Foster, Betty Romanella; and Academy students Ed Lewis and Anna Yates.
Copyright, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1985.
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