Jim Gary is a world famous scupltor and artist who is best known for creating extremely detailed dinosaurs from automobile parts. His dinosaurs have been exhibited internationally and command a high price in the art world. You can read about Jim Gary and his work in more detail here. In 2011 the bulk of his collection was shipped to Florida, where it is currently on display at the Tallahassee Museum. I documented their disassembly and packing here. A few sculptures remained in Colts Neck, and are now on loan for the next two months to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, one of several dinosaur related events going on at LSC. I recently visited LSC and witnessed prep work being done to restore one of the dinosaurs for display. I also spoke to Ellen Lynch, Exhibition Operations Lead, and Mary Meluso, LSC media director, about Jim Gary, his dinosaurs and the 25th anniversary of the LSC.
The two sculptures are on display at Liberty Science Center in the Wildlife Challenge, an outdoor exhibit for children.
Twenty years ago, when Liberty Science Center first opened its doors to the public, the special exhibitions gallery featured a large display (over 4000 sf) of Jim Gary’s fascinating dinosaur sculptures. To mark the anniversary, LSC is featuring two of Gary’s dinosaurs (Running Raptor and Brontosaurus) in an outdoor exhibition, Wildlife Challenge. There are several dinosaur related exhibits and attractions at LSC now including:
* The film “Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia” in the IMAX Dome Theater.
* Dinosaur Discovery – Visitors climb into an excavation pit to dig through sand for signs of fossils.
* Animatronic Dinosaur: See and hear a lifelike, animatronic model of Yangchuanosaurus, a Late Jurassic dinosaur, in the Eat and Be Eaten exhibition.
To complement this, there are even more limited run dinosaur-themed offerings mentioned here.
The LSC has used art in its science exhibits before, including
* Art of Science – an exhibition of the top 45 photographs selected from Princeton University’s annual juried competition of the same name.
* A Spatial Portrait – an interactive digital artwork by artist Leni Schwendinger.
* Works by Sonic Architecture artists Bill and Mary Buchen are featured on the pathway leading to Liberty Science Center.
* Digital Darkroom: a digital photo manipulation exhibit created by former Bell Labs staffer, Bill Cheswick.
The Liberty Science Center is providing for the restoration of the two pieces, due to 20+ years of exposure to the elements. The velociraptor needed far less work and was already on display while the brontosaurus was being prepped. The restoration includes sand blasting the entire sculpture, welding repairs and priming and painting the sculpture prior to its public installation. LSC has been consulting with the Jim Gary Foundation on the details of this work.
Below are pictures of the brontosaurus (minus the head and neck) being sandblasted. The work was done by Dry Ice Blasting by Advanced Indoor Air Quality. The company does all manner of sandblasting, working on walls, houses, and cars. According to the workers, they often are called upon to clean up old pieces of art to be repainted. They blasted the surface of the metal with Black Beauty Abbrasive, made from coal. Once the paint is removed, the bare metal surface can be primed and painted.
Sculpture on loan from the James T. Gary Foundation, courtesy of Kafi Benz, studio director, Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs (www.kafi-benz.com) ]