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Pace Galleries

Storm King Unveils Zhang Huan's Three-Legged Buddha

MOUNTAINVILLE, N.Y.—The Storm King Art Center has owned one Buddha figure for a number of years, a small bronze sculpture that sits on one of its green hills, watching a blank television in Nam June Paik’s 1992 Waiting for UFO installation. However, it can now claim another, after announcing that work has been completed on the latest addition to the park, Zhang Huan’s 2007 Three-Legged Buddha, a 28-foot-tall steel-and-copper piece that weighs 12 tons. The sculpture, which depicts three gigantic legs balancing nimbly on two thin columns and the top half of the Buddha’s head, is a gift to Storm King from the artist and the Pace Gallery, Zhang’s dealer in New York and Beijing. The work has previously been on view at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and La Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium. Zhang said in a statement that he “hopes that she finishes her life-cycle” at the center. Storm King president John P. Stern said that Zhang’s work “adds a new international dimension” to the center’s collection, which is largely composed of abstract sculptures by Western artists like David Smith, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, and Richard Serra. David R. Collens, Storm King’s director and curator, added that he hopes the sculpture “will engage viewers on many levels” in its home in its South Fields, where it provides a definitive, representational contrast to Magdalena Abakanowicz’ nearby Sarcophagi in Glass Houses, a set of four glass structures. Though Zhang first earned attention for his harrowing, endurance-based performances, he has focused on large-scale sculptures, like Three-Legged Buddha, in recent years. Another example of that work, his 2008 Three Heads Six Arms (which also depicts Buddha), was placed on display in a San Francisco park by the city’s public-art commission. However, that work is slightly shorter and heavier than its three-legged brother, standing 26 feet tall and weighing 15 tons.
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