Tony Matelli (born 1971) is an American sculptor perhaps best known for his work Sleepwalker.
Born in Chicago, Matelli received his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 1993 and his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995. He lives and works in New York City.
In 2017 Matelli created the sculpture "Hera" for and exhibited the work at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut as part of their "Main Street Sculpture" series.
Incorporating figurative, botanical, and abstract forms in his sculpture, Tony Matelli creates uncanny objects that are both unsettling and comical. His bronze sculptures feature ropes frozen in mid-air, as if the ropes were dropped on a plinth and cast just before collapsing into inert coils. Other works rely on unusual juxtapositions, such as his weeds series in which plants sprout from the space between gallery walls and floors. Across his oeuvre, and particularly in his mirror paintings, Matelli discards traditional genre categories in favor of experiential concerns. “I like sculpture because it’s unwieldy, and there is a resistance to decoration in sculpture that I like,” Matelli has said. “Genres are at the service of ideas, not the other way around.”
Most of the sculptor's notoriety has arisen from his work Sleepwalker and the placement of the work therein. First publicly installed outside Wellesley College - an all women's school - the sculpture came under attack both in words and deed.Some students reaction to the work which was first created for display at the institute of higher learning in time with his solo exhibition at Wellesley's Davis Museum, titled "New Gravity" was similar to that of some people's to Anthony Gormley's figure placed near a ledge on the Empire State Building being called in to emergency services as a jumper; they thought it was a stumbling invasive drunk or otherwise a perpetrator. A petition was then started to demand removal of the work and, as reported by the New York Times , garnered over five hundred signatures, with the organizers stating that it had become “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for some members of our campus community.” Matelli responded stating.."If you have bad feelings toward this and it’s triggering you, you need to seek sympathy, you need to seek help....”. In 2014 the sculpture was vandalized by spraying yellow paint on it. In the end the sculpture stayed for the course of the exhibition and the boisterous debate continued online, ending in over one thousand signatures asking for the work's removal on change.org. During the spring and summer of 2016 the sculpture is being exhibited along New York City's Highline Park with continued debate and the great interest of onlookers who group around it sometimes in crowds.
Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Sweden
Lapses, Pilevneli Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
Real Estate Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY
I Hope All Is Well..., 500 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA
Past-Life, Marlborough Contemporary, London, United Kingdom
Garden, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (cat.)
Realisms, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (cat.)
Garden, Marlborough Chelsea, New York, New York
Garden, Marlborough Chelsea, Broome St, New York, New York
Tony Matelli, Olaf Bruening, John Miller, Gary Tatintsian Gallery Inc., Moscow, Russia (cat.)
Tony Matelli: New Gravity, The Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Massachusetts (cat.)
Stephane Simoens Contemporary, Knokke, Belgium
White Flag Projects, Saint Louis, Missouri (cat.)
Tony Matelli – A HUMAN ECHO, Bergen Kunstmuseum, Bergen, Norway (cat.)
Windows, Walls and Mirrors, Green Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Echoes, Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Sweden
Tony Matelli - A HUMAN ECHO, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark (cat.)
Windows, Walls and Mirrors, Leo Koenig Inc, New York, New York
Falkenrot Prize 2011: Tony Matelli: Glass of Water, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (cat.)
Glass of Water, Selestat Bienniale, Selestat, France
The Constant Now, Andrehn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm Sweden
Tony Matelli: Mirror Paintings, Andrehn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm
Mise en Abyme, Stephane Simoens Contemporary, Knokke, Belgium
Yesterday, Green Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Idiot, Gary Tatintsian Gallery Inc., Moscow, Russia
Life and Times, Galerie Charlotte Moser, Geneva, Switzerland
Abandon, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Survival, Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Inc., Moscow, Russia (cat.)
Survival, Uppsala Kunstmuseum, Uppsala, Sweden (cat.)
The Old Me, Leo Koenig Inc, New York, New York
Self Portraits, with Phillip Akkerman, Stephane Simoens, Knokke, Belgium
New Works, Leo Koenig Inc, New York, New York
Andrehn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Sweden
Charlotte Moser Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland
Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery, Paris, France
Abandon, Centre d’Arte Santa Monica, Barcelona, Spain
Abandon, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (cat.)
Fucked and The Oracle, Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria (cat.)
Andrehn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Sweden
Sies & Hoeke Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany
Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery, Paris, France
Gian Enzo Sperone, Rome
Sperone Jr., Rome, Italy
Bailey Fine Art, Toronto
Leo Koenig Inc., New York, NY
Art Dealers Invitational, Marseilles, France
Sies+ Hoeke Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany
Ten in One Gallery, New York, NY
Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland
Gallery du Triangle, Bordeaux, France
Abandon, University of Buffalo Art Gallery, New York, NY (cat.)
Andrehn Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Sweden
Basilico Fine Arts, New York, NY
Basilico Fine Arts, New York, NY
Ten in One Gallery, Chicago, IL
1999 New York Foundation for the Arts, Fellowship in Sculpture
1995 M.F.A., Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan
1993 B.F.A., Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Wisconsin
1991 Alliance of Independent Colleges of Art-Independent Study, New York
ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark
ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark
Akzo Nobel Art Foundation
Bergen Kunstmuseum, Bergen, Norway
Bonnier Collection, Stockholm, Sweden
CCA Andratx, Majorca, Spain
Cranbrook Art Museum, Cranbrook, MI
CURIOUSLY STRONG Altoids Collection, (New Museum) New York, NY
The Cultural Foundation Ekaterina, Moscow, Russia
The Davis Museum, Wellesley, MA
FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY
Fundacion La Caixa Madrid, Spain
FRAC Bordeaux, France
Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
Mudam Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Musee d’arte Contemporain Montreal, Canada
Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands
Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK
State National Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia
Skive New Art Museum SNYK, Copenhagen, Denmark
Sundsvalls Kommun, Sundsvall, Sweden
Uppsala Konstmusuem, Uppsala, Sweden
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