The American Academy of Arts and Letters has just announced Robert Lazzarini (BFA 1990 Fine Arts) as a 2003 Academy Award in Art recipient. Lazzarini bewildered museumgoers at the 2002 Whitney Biennial with his payphone sculpture. The payphone, a sculpture of compound distortion, expanded to a height of 9 feet. Designed on a computer, the object was recreated from the same materials as a contemporary New York City payphone: anodized aluminum, stainless steel, plexiglass and silk-screened graphics. Lazzarini even included details such as scratches and dirt to emphasize the historical accuracy of the object.
Artists admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters are selected by their peers and consider membership to be a high honor. Lazzarini now joins the ranks of Academy members, which includes art and literature luminaries like Allen Ginsberg, Jasper Johns, Toni Morrison, Stephen Sondheim, Duke Ellington, William Faulkner, Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Image: Robert Lazzarini, payphone, 2002