‘Gymnasium of Dreams’ Installation at Elmo Restaurant by Joseph Cavalieri
Joseph Cavalieri is a glass artist and teacher in New York. Here he uses LED lighting inside frames to light his work. The project shown here was a large 2012 art installation of seven, 40x40 inch hung light boxes at Elmo restaurant in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. The project received great press, and he sold most of the work. It was also featured in an episode of Law and Order!
About the Work:
The “Gymnasium of Dreams” series is inspired by portraits from mid-19th Century engravings. The challenge of this series was to bring classical portraiture into the 21st Century. Choosing a mix of the famous and the now-forgotten. He drew a bridge from our current celebrity-obsessed society to histories of the equally random ruling class of 15th and 18th Century Europe. This series is based on lithographs and engravings from the mid-19th Century. Stained glass is combined with a cascade of symbols and colors. All seven panels are set into wall hung light boxes.
Two main subjects are featured in the seven pieces hanging at Elmo:
First is King Henri III of France (1551 – 1589). He was son of King Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici. It has long been claimed (and often disputed) that Henri was homosexual or at least bisexual. The multiple images allow me to examine the mercurial nature of this gilded lad, giving the conflicting sides of his persona both visual and three-dimensional form.
The second subject is set above the bar. It is a triptych color series of a young fancy dressed girl of grammar school age. Little is know about this beauty, the original lithograph’s title is “Du Gymnase Dramatique” or “The Gymnasium of Drama”. She was the inspiration for this series. Cavalieri was actually working on these designs when he first met with Bob Pontarelli at Elmo. The timing and setting was perfect to create these works for this space.