Posts Tagged ‘dinosaurs’

Jim Gary’s 20th century Dinosaurs at the LSC

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 ( ]

The Dinosaurs of Alpha

The G J Oliver Company was founded in 1960, and manufactures and designs lube oil systems, as well as fabricates steel for industrial use. The large metal dinosaurs on their back lawn and in front of the offices are the creation of Woody Hauser, one of the company employees. They were created at the request of the owner, whose grandkids love dinosaurs.

During slow periods at work, Hauser would design and fabricate these steel beasts, working from rubber toy dinosaurs given to him by Mr Oliver. Hauser estimates each dinosaur took roughly 6-9 months to design, build and erect. When he is done building one, he begins work on another, but only during slow periods at work. How many will he end up building? Hauser couldn’t say.

You can see the dinosaurs easily from the road outside the facility. Just find Industrial Drive in Alpha and head towards the end. They are on company property and are visible from the road.

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EPSON DSC picture

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EPSON DSC picture

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EPSON DSC picture

Jim Gary’s Dinosaurs

Self taught artist Jim Gary has been designing dinosaurs (and many other things) from automobile parts for many years now. He recently took them on a world wide tour called 20th Century Dinosaurs. The dinosaurs in these photos are on display in his front and side yard (when they’re not on tour), and sell for as much as $150,000. Gary also designed the Colts Neck 9/11 Memorial.

UPDATE: I stopped by his home in 2005, and he was there but had no time to talk. He graciously gave me and a friend permission to walk around his property and take photos. It was my intent to followup and interview him, but sadly he passed away in January of 2006 before I had a chance to return. Learn more about Jim Gary at his website which goes in much greater detail of his life and his art.







The following is an excerpt from a NY Times article that ran upon his death.

This is from a NY Times article which was published after his death in January 2006.

Jim Gary, an internationally noted sculptor in metal whose best-known work transformed the skeletons of derelict cars into the hulking, playful and surprisingly graceful skeletons of dinosaurs, died on Saturday in Freehold, N.J. He was 66 and lived in Farmingdale, N.J. The cause was complications of a cerebral hemorrhage he suffered last month, said Arlene Berg, a longtime friend and Mr. Gary’s former business manager.

For the last three decades, Mr. Gary made his art from the detritus of postwar American consumer culture. Entirely self-taught, he haunted junkyards, where he dug up the bones of familiar bygone species – the gas-guzzling behemoths that roamed the earth in the 1950s, 60s and 70s – to reassemble them into far more exotic ones. Old Chryslers, he often said, made the finest dinosaurs. Welded by hand and painted in vivid colors, Mr. Gary’s sculptures were almost life-size, as much as 60 feet long and 20 feet high. Each comprised hundreds of car parts – it could take 10 automobiles to build a single dinosaur – and took up to a year to complete. His largest pieces sold for close to $100,000, Ms. Berg said.

Featured frequently in the news, Mr. Gary’s art has been exhibited at museums throughout the country, among them the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Boston Children’s Museum. A traveling exhibition of his work, “20th-Century Dinosaurs,” has toured worldwide since the late 1970s. In Mr. Gary’s surgically precise anatomy, a brake shoe became a foot, an oil pan a jaw, an axle a femur. He turned leaf springs into rib cages and generator fans into huge lash-ringed eyes. For the spinal plates of a stegosaurus, he used part of a garbage truck’s compactor. For its tail spikes, he used Chevrolet shock absorbers. He also built smaller pieces, among them humpbacked turtles that began life as Volkswagen Beetles.

Mr. Gary’s other work included furniture, stained glass and a widely exhibited sculpture, “Universal Woman,” a sinuous female torso made of welded-together metal washers. The recipient of many commissions for art in public spaces, he designed the Sept. 11 memorial for Colts Neck, N.J., unveiled in 2002.

James Gary was born in Sebastian, Fla., on March 17, 1939, and grew up in Colts Neck. He was the second of 11 children of Charles Gary, a farmer and mason, and the former Lula Belle Beale, a domestic worker. An inveterate tinkerer even as a youth, Jim built a bicycle and – long before he was old enough to drive – several automobiles from spare parts. Educated in New Jersey public schools, Mr. Gary did a stint in the Navy, where he trained as an aviation mechanic. He later taught welding and gymnastics for the Job Corps before making his first sculptures in the early 1970s. Mr. Gary is survived by a sister, Maudine Weston of Fairfield, Calif.; and by four brothers: Charles, of Nashville; Robert, of Asbury Park, N.J.; Arthur, of Pinole, Calif.; and Carl, of Loxahatchee, Fla.

Because of the scale of his pieces, Mr. Gary had to build special equipment to assemble and move them. Much of this, too, was made from salvaged auto parts. To transport his work from one city to the next he used an enormous flatbed trailer. Curious drivers often followed the dinosaurs down the road for miles