Nina
Levy

Born 1967, Los Angeles, CA
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

Year created: 
2003
Big Baby, Nina Levy
Click images for larger view

83" x 58" x 54"

Cast polyester resin, Fiberglass, automotive paint
Lent by the Artist

No longer on view.

Nina Levy was commissioned to create Big Baby for the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT. At the time, the Aldrich Museum was beginning renovations to their building and thought that this outdoor sculpture appropriately symbolized the “rebirth” of their new structure. Located on deCordova's Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Roof Terrace, Big Baby greets visitors immediately as they step out of the elevator onto the roof.

Levy has addressed a seemingly harmless subject, a baby, and transformed it into one of her menacingly delightful and confrontational sculptures. The overwhelming scale of this work makes it impossible to ignore and represents the demanding, self-centered nature of infants. Big Baby's facial expression and physical gesture can be read in a number of ways, perhaps as that of surprise, or as a tense moment before a tantrum, evoking a feeling of anxiety as the viewer imagines the proportionately loud cry that could burst forth from such a huge infant. With sardonic humor, Levy has created a colossal baby that is decidedly not cute, but monstrous.

Levy's process is complex, and it requires a significant amount of time for the artist to complete her works. Each sculpture begins with a clay model over a Styrofoam core from which a plaster mold is formed. The mold is then divided into sections, taken apart, and the Styrofoam is scooped out from the interior of the mold. After the mold is hollowed, a polyester resin and fiberglass composite is cast. Once this cast has hardened, the individual pieces of the sculpture are fitted together with more of the polyester-fiberglass mixture. The plaster is then chipped away, the edges smoothed, and automotive paint is applied to the surface of the sculpture.