Seward Johnson public art exhibition | Downtown Albany

Seward Johnson public art exhibition

Seward Johnson public art exhibition


Ten sculptures by renowned artist on display in Downtown through early November

The "Celebrating the Familiar" exhibit has ended. For more information on current public art offerings in Downtown, visit downtownalbany.org/publicart.  

The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with the City of Albany and The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc., will host 10 sculptures by world-renowned artist Seward Johnson in locations throughout downtown Albany August through November 2, 2021 as part of the BID's annual placemaking exhibit. 

The exhibit features 10 pieces from Mr. Johnson's Celebrating the Familiar sculpture series at the following locations: 

  • "Ambassador of the Streets"
    • Location: Hudson River Way Pedestrian Bridge | Broadway & Pine Street
  • "Coming Home"
    • Location: Clinton Avenue & N Pearl Street
  • "Crossing Paths"
    • Location: Liberty Park | Hudson Avenue & Liberty Street
  • "Elemental"
    • Location: State & N Pearl Streets
  • "Follow the Leader"
    • Location: Academy Park | Eagle Street & Washington Avenue
  • "Sidewalk Concert" 
    • Location: Times Union Center | 51 S Pearl Street
  • "Sightseeing"
    • Location: SUNY Plaza | 353 Broadway
  • "Skateboarder" 
    • Location: Tricentennial Park | Broadway & Columbia Street
  • "Weekend Painter"
    • Location: Albany Coliseum | 153 S Pearl Street
  • "Yuck, Go Fetch"
    • Location: 66 S Pearl Street

The Downtown BID's outdoor placemaking program (formerly "Sculpture in the Streets") was established in 2005 to connect Downtown employees, residents and visitors with the places they share by reinventing public spaces with various art forms. The work of Seward Johnson was featured in the inaugural 2005 placemaking exhibit and again in 2010, and the BID is thrilled to bring his work back to Downtown this year. From world-renowned sculptors like Mr. Johnson and George Rickey to regional creators, these exhibits have attracted thousands annually. Other past projects include the installation of customized pianos as part of Luke Jerram's internationally touring Play Me, I'm Yours series in 2014, giant Dutch clogs celebrating Albany's history in 2012, and the Downtown is Pawsome dog sculptures in 2017 and 2019..

About the artist:
Artist Seward Johnson, the 2019 International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is often hailed in the press as “America’s most popular sculptor.” Johnson began as an oil painter. In 1968, he journeyed into the medium of sculpture where he found his passion – creating a variety of artworks that pay homage to contemporary life, in its most mundane and exquisite detail. Johnson is admired for his uncanny ability to celebrate the visceral moment with superb realism and deft humor. Seward Johnson’s sculpture of Monet painting at his easel won the St. Charles’ award for “Best in Show” in 2019. Mr. Johnson passed away at the age of 89 in 2020. 

During his over 50 years as a sculptor Johnson made a significant and lasting impact on the landscape of public art. Today, there are more than 300 works in cast bronze featured in public spaces, sculpture gardens, private collections and museums across the globe including London, Paris, New York, Rome, Washington, Los Angeles, Berlin, Madrid, Kiev and Hong Kong. Johnson’s renderings of images from the Impressionist canvases have graced the parks of Paris, and the pieces from his Icons Revisited series, both life-size and monumental, have delighted viewers and art lovers in Australia, China and elsewhere. The works of Seward Johnson invite viewers to examine, as well as celebrate, our essential lifestyles, habits and contemporary culture. His oeuvre is a mirror. One that reflects both the common and the sublime.  

Initially, the world came to know Seward Johnson through his sculptural commentary on day-to-day life. He engages us through the hyper-realistic bronzes of this Celebrating the Familiar series, which act as a mirror for us all. The works echo our myriad tasks and activities, catching our eye and calling attention to small pleasures and encounters. 

The exhibit will be on display through early November. The public is encouraged to share their photos using #DowntownAlbany in their social media posts, and tag the BID on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.