London Art@Site George Segal Rush Hour

George Segal


Rush Hour

Finsbury Avenue Square
George Segal (b.1924) is one of America's leading contemporary artists. He casts his figures from life, encasing his sitters in wire mesh and plaster_of_Paris bandages. When it has set, the mould is cut open and the subject is released, then the mould is joined together again. For indoor display, the plaster relief is normally the basis of the work; for outdoor pieces, bronze figures are cast from the plaster version, retaining the rough textured surface. Other notable works include"The Truck" (1966), "The Laundromat" (1966_67), and"Hot Dog Stand" (1978).
Rush Hour resonates with most of us – it’s the end of the day and we want to get home. Like us, these six bronze figures look fairly impassive as they brave the London weather in their damp looking raincoats. Yet there is something unique here - Segal created this sculpture from live models, encasing them in wire mesh and plaster bandages, before cutting each cast open to free the model, rejoining the mould and casting bronze figures from the plaster versions. And so was born one of Broadgate’s most popular pieces of art.
One of America's best known modern artists, Segal perfected the art of using plaster bandages to create real life tableaux, using close friends and family members as models. He won the US International Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1992 and the National Medal of Arts in 1999. More recently the George and Helen Segal Foundation was established to exhibit Segal’s work and award grants to aspiring young artists.