By Torri Singer
MIDDLETOWN – It isn’t everywhere that a statue – one that is 9-feet tall – graces the lawn of a dentistry building, but now that artwork is in need of a new home.
“We had always been interested in art,” said Sandy Gordon, owner of the statues that depict family.
Gordon’s husband Albert tried his hand at welding in the past but quickly learned that burning your hands and being a dentist were not the most successful of combinations. He moved on to working with marble, but a chance meeting with sculptor Hy Suchman led to the Gordons commissioning him to create an original piece for the entryway of Albert’s Middletown dentistry business.
Suchman, now 90, who was from Jackson and now lives in Vermont, concentrates on working in stainless steel and iron, in sizes ranging from 1 foot to more than 10 feet in height. He has created public pieces, won competitions and sold to museums and art collectors for more than six decades.
“We just told him about the site and he knew this would be a place where families would come,” Gordon said. “He exercised his artistic judgment in creating a piece.”
In 1972 the larger-than-life statue was installed. “We were overwhelmed and delighted,” Gordon said. “We loved it.”
The statue, which does not have a formal name, is composed of three elements – a mother earth standing above her two daughters – in gleaming stainless steel. The trio has been somewhat of a public spectacle over the four decades that they have inhabited the lawn of Albert Gordon’s dentistry office, attracting visitors who have admired, marveled and posed with the silver-colored females.
“All the time people would take pictures and pose with them or they’d have little children standing next to the little girl,” Gordon said.
Sandy and Albert Gordon, who now live in New York City, sold the building in December. “We are looking for a place for our homeless ladies!” Sandy said.
In September 2012, Montclair State University planned to include the sculpture in its outdoor art garden for New Jersey artists. The Gordons were excited to be donating their piece of art to a space where new people could come and enjoy it. That plan was scuttled when Super Storm Sandy caused damage to the campus and school officials told the Gordons they could no longer afford to take on the new piece.
The Gordons hope their beloved statues will go to a local public institution, but have yet to find the perfect fit. A few prospective institutions struggled with placement of such large and heavy statues; some even deemed the art “inappropriate.”
“If they’re being evaluated as art pieces I can’t imagine why that term was ever used,” she said. “When you go to a museum, do you have negative responses to the works of the famous artists that have nudes?”
A testament to their love of art, the Gordons now study and teach at Quest, a nonprofit senior educational program, at the City College of New York’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Sandy Gordon, who had no art background and was a speech pathologist with the Middletown school system, has been running the art history course in the city for the past 21 years.
The Gordons would like to donate the sculpture to a public space but are open to selling to a commercial building. Anyone interested in learning more about the statues or purchasing them may contact Sandy Gordon at 732-671-0832.
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