As part of Maine’s Bicentennial in 2020, the Tides Institute & Museum of Art mounted during the summer of last year an exhibition of works from its collections ranging in date from 1820 to the present. In addition, the Tides Institute will publish a Bicentennial book featuring 100 works from its collections and the stories behind the works and how they came into the Tides Institute’s collection. Each week, one of the selected works will be featured in our weekly online posting, CulturePass, to this region’s cultural activities and on our website here.
This week’s piece is a sculpture titled “Mist Dance” by artist and sculptor, Richard Van Buren. Created in 2009 and made of thermoplastic, acrylic paint and shells, the 24” x 24” x 20” piece was a gift to the Tides Institute by the artist. Van Buren was born in Syracuse, New York in 1937 and studied painting and sculpture at San Francisco State University and the National University of Mexico. In 1964, he moved to New York City. Over the next 35 years he taught sculpture there, first at the School of Visual Arts (1967-1988) and then at the Parsons School of Design (1988-2001). During the 1960s and 1970s, Van Buren had solo exhibitions at numerous important galleries, particularly in New York City, including the Bykert Gallery, 112 Greene Street and Paula Cooper Gallery. During this same time, his work was also included in many ground breaking museum exhibitions. Working primarily with a very pliable polyester resin material, Van Buren has been able to explore and push sculptural work in new ways, often adding completely different materials to the polyester resin form. His work can be found in the collections of such major museums as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the National Gallery (Washington, D.C.), and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). He began coming to Perry, Maine during the summers beginning in the 1970s and since 2001 he has lived and worked there year round.