Bruno Pasquier-Desvignes opens a new (and rare) exhibit of his impish, soaringly creative sculptural works at the Hudson Opera House. He is of the same generation of artists who sparked Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop Art and other isms, but fully attuned with what came before in the less genre-bound artistic experiments of the early Modernists.
He paints, etches, draws, gardens; he has lived in Jamaica, Mexico, Peru and various parts of Asia. He envisions monumental expressions, freed from the market. He came out of France, found ways to make art wherever he was, whenever he could. The “concept” wasn’t buried in each piece, but flowing through all he did as an overriding sensibility.
Since moving to the Columbia County community of Livingston decades ago, filling a 22-room farmhouse and its barns with his work (and gardens and labyrinths and sculptures), Bruno was picked up to create the Picasso works in a film by his neighbors, Ismael Merchant and Jim Ivory, who also gave him exhibits in their Red Barn Gallery in Claverack. He created an animated version of The Song of Roland with corks and toothpicks, filled Grand Central Station with his work and created a short-lived but much-heralded second tourist draw of Rube Goldberglike contraptions at what was once Catskill Corners and is now the Emerson, but still home to the world’s largest kaleidoscope. For the anniversary of Robert Fulton’s first steamboat on the Hudson, he created a junk barge, uniformly seen as magic and wondrous, that sailed the river. He has even given TED Talks on his ideas about the continuing transformative power of art, especially when it comes to recycling all that others toss out.
“When Merchant/Ivory asked Bruno to create Picassolike drawings for their film Surviving Picasso, little did they guess that they would get Picasso-Plus drawings,” said this latest exhibit’s curator, R. O. Blechman. “And when I visited Bruno’s studio recently and saw his little metal sculptures, little did I guess that I would be looking at several Calder-Plus sculptures. But Bruno is an artist sui generis, and one who deserves an exhibition.”
Blechman sound familiar? Ah, he’s the illustrator with the squiggly line who has been delighting New Yorker readers for years, and has also known Pasquier-Desvignes for eons as a neighbor and fellow funster. Talk about a match made in Heaven!
In addition to the new show “Caprices” at the Hudson Opera House, Bruno Pasquier-Desvignes’ home is also for sale in Glenco Mills, just west of Hudson, complete with a host of in-place artworks. Rare indeed to get such access to a lifelong talent.
“Caprices: The Sculptures of Bruno Pasquier-Desvignes” opening reception, Saturday, March 7, 5-7 p.m., exhibition Feb. 21 through March 29, Hudson Opera House, 327 Warren Street, Hudson; (518) 822-1438, www.hudsonoperahouse.org.