Straube Center in the News

Straube Center sculpture garden a first for complex, town

By R. Kurt Osenlund, Bucks Local News Posted on Wed, July 15th, 2009 www.BucksLocalNews.com

With its newly installed outdoor sculpture exhibit, "Art You Can Touch," the Straube Center office complex is giving Pennington something it's never seen before.

Following a series of successful, impressive gallery shows within the walls of its office complex at Route 31 and West Franklin Avenue in Pennington, the Straube Center is now thinking even further “outside” the box.

On July 9, the high-tech office space unveiled “Art You Can Touch,” an outdoor sculpture garden featuring works in bronze, metal, wood and marble by local and internationally-known artists.

Positioned at various points along the Bixby's Way edge of the complex, the sculptures are diverse, striking and add a dash of visual excitement to the commercial location.

The outdoor exhibition is a first for the Straube Center and, according to curator Richard Butterfoss, a first for Pennington as well.

“I had tried for years to get public art in Pennington,” says Butterfoss, a former Pennington Borough Council member. “[When searching for a curator], Win Straube remembered my mission. He came to me and said, 'here's your chance.'”

Butterfoss, an independent television producer and documentary filmmaker, said he's been promoting sculpture for some time now.  His film “Twisted Logic,” which highlights the work of renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty over a three-month period at Hamilton's Grounds for Sculpture, won three awards in 2008, including the coveted Best Arts Documentary prize at the New York Film and Video Festival.

“This (exhibition) allowed me to promote sculpture even more,” Butterfoss says. “And I thought it would be really nice for Pennington. They've never had anything like this before. Hopefully it will encourage more outdoor art in town.”

Some of the work in the “Art You Can Touch” collection is temporary and will be removed at year’s end, but some is set for permanent display.

According to Butterfoss, all but Seward Johnson’s man-and-a-trashcan piece, “Holier Than Thou,” is for sale, and 100 percent of the sales receipts go directly to the artist(s).

Other works in the collection include “Shower,” a gleaming white marble bust of a woman by world famous sculptor Carole Feuerman; “Pitches and Entrances” by Gyuri Hollósy, which consists of two figures in a sort of swaying dance; and “Popper,” a fascinatingly knotted wood piece by Harry Gordon that looks markedly different from every angle.

“It was a fun project,” Butterfoss says of organizing the outdoor show. “It was my first job as a curator.”

If Butterfoss has his way, it won’t be his last. The Pennington resident says he has hopes of installing “garden rooms” at the Straube Center, much like those at Grounds for Sculpture. He’s also interested in establishing an open-air theater at Kunkel Park. Thinking “outside” the box, indeed.

Learn more about the Straube Center’s “Art You Can Touch” at http://straubecenter.com/art_at_straube.php.

One Straube Center Blvd • Pennington, NJ 08534 • Phone: 609-737-3322 • E-mail:
Straube Center Boulevard surrounded by Route 31, West Franklin Ave., Knowles Ave.-Bixby’s Way, and Broemel Place