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Ivan Biro: Bio

(1926-2001)  Ivan Biro was a sculptor and founding member of 55 Mercer Gallery, an artists' cooperative in SoHo.  [ "Artists cooperative gallery, Soho, N.Y. Est. 1969. 55 Mercer Gallery is the oldest artists cooperative gallery in Soho, N.Y." Smithsonian Institution ARCHIVES, MANUSCRIPTS & PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS ] [The 55 Mercer Street Gallery began in Soho and is now called the M55 Art. The year was 1969 when the 55 Mercer Street Gallery was established. The 55 Mercer Street Gallery is a non-profit gallery and was started by like minded artists. The 55 Mercer Street Gallery brings in modern art to the general public to see, view and appreciate. The 55 Mercer Street Gallery gives its members the opportunity to display their work in an independent site. The 55 Mercer Street Gallery also does community outreach efforts by supporting curators and guest artists. The 55 Mercer Street Gallery is constantly re-evaluating submissions made by curators and artists a like." Articlesbase] Mr. Biro was born in Paris in 1926 and grew up in Budapest.  He survived imprisonment in a Nazi labor camp during World War II and in the late 1940's studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest and at the Akademie der Bildenen Kuenste in Vienna, Austria.

He immigrated to the United States in 1957, settling in New York, where he worked as a commercial artist and sculptor.  Here he began making abstract sculptures out of globes and spheres of highly finished polyester.  Throughout his career he received many art awards and fellowships.
Mr. Biro helped found 55 Mercer Gallery in 1970 and exhibited his sculptures there for eight years.  He was also a designer in the fashion and toy industries and taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and the Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, CT.
(Bio adapted from New York Time obituary March 6, 2001)


Apprenticeships> Reuben Nakian

Rueben Nakian: Bio

(1897-1986)  Reuben Nakian was born in College Point, NY and enjoyed a long and distinguished career over seventy years as a sculptor.  

Nakian received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Nebraska (1969) and Bridgeport (1972), medals from the Philadelphia College of Art (1967) and the American Academy/National Institute of Arts and Letters (1973), and the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (1983).  He was the recipient of awards from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts (1979), Brandeis University (1977), and the Rhode Island School of Design (1979).

Reuben Nakian was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1931 and a Ford Foundation Fellowship in 1958.  He represented the United States as the major sculptor in the VI Bienal in Sao Paulo, Brazil (1961) and the 1968 Biennale in Venice, Italy and was a guest of honor at the Famous Artist’s Evening at the White House (1966).  The Smithsonian Institution produced a documentary on his life and work titled Reuben Nakian: Apprentice to the Gods, (1985).  

Nakian’s work is represented in the permanent collections of many of America’s most prestigious museums and institutions.  He has had major one-man shows at the Los Angeles County Museum (1962), the Museum of Modern Art, NY, NY (1966), the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC (1981), the Milwaukee Art Museum (1985), the Gulbenkian Centro de Arte Moderna, Lisbon, Portugal (1988), and a Centennial Retrospective at the Reading Public Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (1999).  Garden of the Gods I was one of five sculptures to inaugurate the Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden, while other monumental works are in civic and private settings across the US.

Called “one of the most distinguished American sculptors of the 20th Century,”* Nakian’s long career touched more of American art history than most artists.

(* Bio adapted from New York Time obituary December 5, 1986 and exhibition materials from his spring 2001 exhibition at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.)



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