Opinion

Photo Break: Urs Fischer’s Giant Yellow Teddy Bear

Urs Fischer's “Untitled (Lamp/Bear)” (2005-6) (all photos by author)

Stationed outside of the Seagram building at 75 Park Avenue between 52nd Street and 53rd Street is a giant yellow teddy bear. Oh yeah, it also has a lamp sticking out of its back and through its head. Urs Fischer‘s monumental sculpture “Untitled (Lamp/Bear)” (2005-6) has already attracted attention for its unique appearance, but I took some photos to show the piece from a different angle.

Placed on view by Christie’s through September 30, the monumental sculpture is actually part of an edition of three, one copy of which will go on sale at Christie’s on May 11 of this year. Intrigued? The work will probably run you over $10 million at auction. This ain’t your grandma’s teddy bear, unless your grandma is Eli Broad or something.

Fischer’s bear has quite a striking presence on the street corner, but it was particularly impressive in the midst of Saturday’s dull, cloudy rain. The bright yellow shone through the fog and the lit bulb of the lamp protruding from the bear’s head also lit things up. This bear isn’t all sweetness and light, though. Its mottled exterior looks like a toy that’s been roughed up a little bit too much, lumpy and misshapen, and the expression on its face isn’t so much smiley as dazed or comatose.

The sculpture is so big that I thought it must have been made of steel, but a closer look at the surface shows a warmth and thickness that’s actually cast bronze. Seams are visible over the bear’s body showing where the cast bronze plates join over a steel inner structure. There’s a delicate handling of the bear’s materiality that’s actually very nice, outpacing the somewhat random nature of the whole composition.

Though “Lamp/Bear” made the Atlantic‘s list of “World’s Worst Public Art” (really?), I quite liked it. I probably wouldn’t spend my $10 million on it, but hey. I would recommend heading out to Midtown and enjoying Urs Fischer’s light-bringing sculpture, plus the artist’s quirky sense of humor. It’ll definitely brighten up your day.

Urs Fischer’s Sculpture “Untitled (Lamp/Bear)” (2005-6) will be on at the Seagram Plaza at 375 Park Avenue until September 30, 2011.

comments (0)