Month: November, 2013

Barry X Ball Makes a 3D-Printed, Digitally Altered, Gold-Plated Sculpture

Studio assistant Mitchell Martinez uses vinegar to polish the bronze on an edition of Perfect Forms. PHOTO: STEPHANIE STRASNICK.

Studio assistant Mitchell Martinez uses vinegar to polish the bronze on an edition of Perfect Forms. Photo: Stephanie Strasnick.

Barry X Ball wanted to complete an artwork that Boccioni never did. Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, which wasn’t cast in bronze until after Boccioni’s death, is a modernist icon. Inspired by industrialization in Italy at the turn of the 20th century, the anonymous figure cascades through space—the wind distorting his speeding body.

Using 3D scanning and printing technologies, sophisticated computer software, resin, nickel, copper, bronze, and 24-karat gold, Ball created his own version of Unique Forms.

Titled Perfect Forms, Ball’s rendition measures nearly two feet tall. The abstracted body is meticulously contoured. The angles are sharp. The curves are smooth. The sleek, gold finish causes the figure to glow and perpetuates the idea that the man is in motion.

The prototype of Perfect Forms made its public debut in October as part of the exhibition “Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. On view through June 1, the show features clothing, artwork, furniture, and jewelry that were created using 3D printers and CNC mills.

On a recent visit to Ball’s studio—which occupies a townhouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—I learned about the labor-intensive process involved in constructing Perfect Forms. He demonstrated the various steps using editions of the sculpture, which are mirror images of the MAD prototype. Ball and his team plan to make seven editions in total. The price of the editions has not been determined, but the prototype is selling for $225,000 through Ball’s New York gallery, Sperone Westwater. Read the full story on!


Rare Leonardos Visit New York for First Time


In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci traveled to Milan with the hopes of becoming a court painter for Ludovico Sforza. In an effort to impress the distinguished patron, the artist created an immaculate metalpoint drawing titled Head of a Young Woman (Study for the Angel in the ‘Virgin of the Rocks’).

Unlike most of Leonardo’s drawings, the Young Woman is highly finished. The contours of her face are meticulously shaded. Highlights on her cheeks give her a glowing complexion. Her deep-set eyes communicate a wistful and lifelike gaze. Elegant and arresting, she is what Bernard Berenson called “one of the finest achievements of all draughtsmanship.”

Visitors to the Morgan Library & Museum in New York now have the rare opportunity to view this drawing, which seldom leaves Italy, in person. The Young Woman is one of nearly 20 works by Leonardo and his followers featured in the intimate exhibition “Leonardo da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin,” on view through February 2. Read the full story on!