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Tony Rosenthal is probably best known for his landmark, fifteen-foot high CorTen cube, poised on its tip, which stands permanently on Astor Place in downtown Manhattan. Yet at the time it was installed, in 1967, and soon after accepted as the first permanent contemporary outdoor public sculpture by the City of New York, he had recieved many other public commissions, and had also been produceing smaller-scale studio sculpture of distinction for nearly two decades, first in Los Angeles and then in New York. Since the late fifties he has been experimenting in a rather wide range of abstraction, from monolithic structures to more open geometric forms, often with elegant surface detailing concerned with effects of light and movement.
Notable among Rosenthal's important commissions has been "Cranbrook Ingathering," a maze-like structural environment set on the campus of the Michigan design center; he considers the work his homage to Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and other modernist giants of architecture and design who had been fellows at the academy with Rosenthal. Another remarkable work that deeply stirred public attention recently is his moving "Holocaust Memorial," made for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo; it combines a rather austere, ten-foot high, stainless steel structure and specific texts and imagery on steel "pages" memorializing, and personalizing, the loss of the Six Million.
Since 1997 Rosenthal has embarked on a more personal method of creating abstract, yet also at time suggestively figural, sculpture consisting of small, bent stell bars shaped by hand. He has also linked these elements together and combined them almost haphazardly, creating arich accumulation of powerfully interacting formal units. Undaunted by his advanced years, Rosenthal seems to be just getting started in his recent work, and testing new and challenging directions with vigor and concision.
The book contains 69 color plates, an extensive chronology, a list of the sculptor's major commissions and public sculptures and a bibliography.