View Full Version : Building Art at Rockefeller Center

August 24th, 2003, 06:25 PM
Some of these I know about. If anyone has any further info...

Mosaic over the 6th ave entrance of GE.



At the plaza entrance to GE, Lee Lawrie's Wisdom, Sound, and Light



and Light
Lawrie also did the model for FDR on the dime.






Over the entrance to the Associated Press Building, Isamu Noguchi's stainless steel News, depicting the tools of the trade.
My favorite.
Noguchi also did Red Cube at 140 Broadway.

5th ave


No need to be a Bible scholar

Lee Lawrie's Atlas

August 24th, 2003, 07:01 PM
Thank you very much, Zippy.

August 24th, 2003, 08:45 PM
Zippy's probably the forum's best photographer, which is saying a lot.

August 25th, 2003, 04:17 PM
Geez, now I've got this reputation to live up to.

I found these at pbase from MSZ
Spiders give me the creeps!

Check out the other galleries. In Old NY, there's an old photo of the submarine Nautilus in the harbor.

August 25th, 2003, 05:43 PM
I'm just flattering you to encourage you to keep doing your thing for us to enjoy.

TLOZ Link5
August 25th, 2003, 07:16 PM
Extremely reminiscent of ancient Babylon.

Jack Ryan
August 28th, 2003, 09:30 PM
I've always loved that story of Diego Rivera refusing to alter his mural on the ceiling of the R.C.A. Building's lobby. Seems the Rockefellers took offense to his depiction of Lenin leading the workers to glory. Rivera, when told to remove Lenin's likeness from the piece, flatly refused and got fired. His masterful mural was then chiseled off the ceiling, obliterated, and replaced with what we see there now. *

August 28th, 2003, 10:38 PM
Wow... collective bargaining doesn't really apply to a commissioned artist does it.

My favorite mural is of transportation on a deep red background. *Cars, Planes, Automobiles, Ships, Clouds swirling- awesome- so dynamic. *I think there is a Banana Republic, or a Gap next door to the lobby.

Noguchi's News piece is incomparable. *It's the type of thing a future plundering force would strip off the building and put in their museum, a la the Parthenon's frieze.

August 29th, 2003, 06:27 PM
Where is the Isaiah 2:4 located?

TLOZ Link5
August 29th, 2003, 07:36 PM
I think on the grand staircase descending into the plaza, judging by the surrounding masonry.

February 25th, 2007, 12:37 PM
Here are more photos of the Art Deco sculptures and reliefs at Rockefeller Center (http://andrewprokos.com/photos/new-york/landmarks/rockefeller-center/). They are such a treasure, and a real insight into one of the most dynamic periods in New York City history.

February 25th, 2007, 05:21 PM
The stuff is absolutely terrific. It's like a visit to the 1939 NY World's Fair.

February 25th, 2007, 06:44 PM
Wow, sure am glad this thread got bumped up.

Great photos, Zip.

And terrific works of art.

Why did we ever give up Deco, anyway?

Sure beats most of the overwrought and anti-social prima donnas we coo at these days.

February 26th, 2007, 02:50 AM
Whoa! who's "we". :p

I surely enjoyed Zippy's pics...but...isn't ornament "crime" ??? :rolleyes:

February 26th, 2007, 06:14 AM
^ "We" is the great unwashed plurality that winds up speaking for us all (there it is again!) --as in "we elected George W. Bush twice to the Presidency."

Btw, the French are very clear about who "we" are*: we are of course all of us, acting monolithically.

(* as we are about them.)

March 3rd, 2007, 11:08 AM
...but...isn't ornament "crime" ??? :rolleyes:
Only if you have a screw Loos.

March 3rd, 2007, 01:34 PM

March 3rd, 2007, 08:50 PM
Dang if I don't learn more interesting stuff from wirednewyork each and every day.

March 4th, 2007, 12:14 PM
Those are great pictures!! I am going to have to spend more time "looking up" and relaxing when I am there.

March 4th, 2007, 01:23 PM
Adolf liked things stripped.
Adolf Loos, 1870-1933.

That was because --like his contemporary, Irving Gill, and his successors, Le Corbusier and Richard Meier-- he knew how to make stripped things look good by basing their overall form on a sculptural idea. This way, ornament per se became superfluous, for the whole building was the ornament:

He would have hotly denied it, but he was part of the Vienna Secession branch of Art Nouveau architecture (“nouveau” = new, modern), here represented by his colleague, Joseph Olbrich:
Loos with a little ornament.

Loos himself indulged in a little light hypocrisy that showed his roots and yielded his best work:
American Bar, Vienna.
American Bar, Vienna.

Loos of the Vienna Secession:

What they were seceding from was orthodox classicism. Only Loos got all the way to Gropius-style modernism, but it was an incomplete conversion; he was just too much of a stylist to pay more than lip-service to “form follows function.”
Comfy, bourgeois Vienna.

March 4th, 2007, 01:25 PM
Loos loved to have things look interesting. So --denied ornament by his own theory-- he made the building’s entire form ornamental. He thus invented what Venturi later called the Duck:
Chicago Tribune Competition entry.

Loos’s Germanic colleague, Walter Gropius, dove far deeper into Modernism with his entry:

Eliel Saarinen weighed in with orthodox Deco:

And Raymond Hood carried off the prize with Gothic Revival (not too long after Woolworth):
Hood’s entry was built.

In 1927, Loos designed this jazz-age beauty…
Not built.

… for this jazz-age beauty:


August 28th, 2007, 08:04 PM
You'd be surprised who also did other things, such as Donald Deskey -- creator of the cobra head street lamp. Yep.

August 30th, 2007, 02:47 AM
Looking at Ablarc's post (^^^):

1. I hope he realizes my reference to ornament beign crime was facetious: I like ornament me -- still the "best" way to relieve mass

2. The Loos tower looks silly/post-modern

3. Gropius' tower looks quite good, in a modernsit way. Built in the right materials/colors it would be stunning. Goes to show how debased even compared to early bauhaus most modern starchitecture is

4. I still like Hood's tower better (Saarineen's would be as good)

June 25th, 2009, 07:33 AM
Not exactly building art, I know, but on Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture, a series being shown here on TV at the moment, there was a segment about Rockefeller Center including the marvelous art deco grating around the trees close by.

I had no idea they were there, so it was a very pleasant learning experience.





June 26th, 2009, 10:54 AM
As long as we're going to reply to 2 1/2 year old posts...

Only if you have a screw Loos.

June 26th, 2009, 11:14 AM
^The hell? Bob, seriously.

Great find, Merry. Those tree grates are so classy, no detail is spared in Rock Center.

Reminds me of some old ones in the blocks surrounding the old Yankee Stadium shaped like Home Plate with the Yankee insignia nicely scrolled in, but they are filthy, garbage strewn, and cracked in places. I hope they don't disappear due to neglect.

June 26th, 2009, 02:40 PM
Looking at Ablarc's post (^^^):

1. I hope he realizes my reference to ornament being crime was facetious: I like ornament me -- still the "best" way to relieve mass.
How could you have thought I missed it? ;)