Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Visual Arts 2017

George Trakas

GeorgeTrakas
Photo by Shawn Taylor.
  • Sculptor
  • Born 1944, Quebec City, Quebec
  • Lives in New York, NY

The [award gave me the] shock startled realization of finally being able to go back to building sculpture in [the] studio independent of contract or site. The freedom has inspired new work that is in process, elevating the body off the floor plane with steel steps, wood planks, and stone landings. Wall pieces are also in production with materials scavenged through the years from various building sites.

- George Trakas, December 15, 2017

Biography

George Trakas is a sculptor who builds work through recycling derelict urban spaces, engaging the spectator's body through a discovery of self and a path of desire. Trakas's work is primarily situated outdoors, exploring relationships between nature, the built environment, and human presence.

Trakas' outdoor site-specific works include Self Passage (1989), a sculpture leading to a waterside platform at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and Beacon Point (2007), a permanent dock installed on the Hudson River waterfront at Dia:Beacon. He has also conceived several walking trails, most notably Newtown Creek Nature Walk (2007), a nature walk along the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. His work Hook (Archean Reach), Line (Sea House), and Sinker (Mined Swell) (2004) is permanently installed at the Atlantic Avenue - Pacific Street subway station in Brooklyn.

Trakas was awarded an National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1979); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1982); a National Academy of Arts and Letters Medal for Sculpture (1996); and was named Doctor of Humane Letters by Emory University (2010). He was a professor of Sculpture at Yale University for thirteen years.

Artist Statement

Build work recycling derelict urban spaces engaging spectator body movement through landscape toward discovery of self often a path of desire and form of choreography.

- December 2016

Wooden planks with poles around them situated on a sandy area with rocks underneath the , create a small wharf.

Sunion Point, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, 2012. Photo by George Trakas.

A cement road surrounded on each side by a gray wall.

Newtown Creek Nature Walk, Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant, Brooklyn, 2007. Photo by George Trakas.

People walking and sitting on a wooden wharf overlooking the water.

Sunion Point, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, 2012. Photo by George Trakas.

Bushes and a tree on a a sandy area. A water canal extends in the distance farthest from the viewer.

Newtown Creek Nature Walk, Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant, Brooklyn, 2007. Photo by George Trakas.

Two figures stand on stairs leading to the water. The smallest figure dressed in a white shirt crouches looking at the water's surface.

Newtown Creek Nature Walk, Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant, Brooklyn, 2007. Photo by Maggie Trakas.

People sit in pairs on cement stairs leading to the water. A group of them on the last stair submerged in the water climb into a small red boat.

Newtown Creek Nature Walk, Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant, Brooklyn, 2007. Photo by Maggie Trakas.

People sit and support themselves on gray cylinders placed though-out a wooden wharf.

Beacon Point, Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, 2007. Photo by George Trakas.

The water surrounding a wharf has frozen to a white color and created cracks all over. A gray cylinder is submerged into the ice.

Beacon Point, Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, 2007. Photo by George Trakas.