Author Archive

2017 Tribeca Ball Retrospective

At the annual Tribeca Ball, guests explore all six floors of the historic Franklin Street building that houses New York Academy of Art, while visiting with over one-hundred MFA artists in their studios over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, with dinner guests moving on to a meal prepared by a master chef.

This year’s Ball, subtitled A Magical Menagerie, honored Will Cotton. Will trained at NYAA in the 1980s and is an unwavering protagonist of the academy’s mission. He teaches Master Classes, serves as a Senior Critic, and hosts an Artists’ Drawing Party fundraiser every fall. He is represented by Mary Boone, and known for his surreal, colorful portraits. Will has exhibited in major group and solo shows the world over, including at the National Portrait Gallery, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Triennale di Milano.

The event’s décor plunged guests into the aforementioned “menagerie,” with six floors of fantastical animal-themed installations inspired by Van Cleef and Arpels’ latest jewelry collection, L’Arche de Noé.

Starting in the lobby guests were regaled by the sounds of the Spiros Exaras Trio, and moving on to the upper floors they explored artists’ studios, an installation of prints by current NYAA students, and live drawing by alumni, among many other fanciful attractions.

Event Chairs included Alain Bernard, Christina Di Donna, Brooke Shields and Naomi Watts.

Support of the ball directly impacts the Academy’s scholarships and educational programming, allowing it to fulfill its mission of training the most talented emerging artists in the skills and techniques essential to the creation of vital contemporary art.

For more coverage of the Ball: Vogue, Avenue Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily.

ARDEX Tile & Stone Installation Systems is now offering a 25-Year SystemOne™ tier Warranty on select high performance products

We are pleased to announce that ARDEX Tile & Stone Installation Systems
is now offering a 25-Year SystemOne™ tier Warranty
on select high performance products (see below).

Program Summary
25 Year SystemOne™ Single Source Comprehensive Warranty
for interior and non-submerged applications

As with the current SystemOne™ Warranty Program, the 25-year tier can be achieved
by combining a minimum of two ARDEX Tile & Stone Installation Systems products in a system

Improved warranties on most lower-tier products

Projects exceeding 5,000 sq. ft. must be approved
by the ARDEX Technical Department.
Please contact your ARDEX Sales Professional for all warranty requirements

ARDEX SystemOne™ Warranty, the most comprehensive single source coverage within
the tile and stone industry…now even better!

Click here to view the complete warranty.

New York Academy of Art requests the honor of your presence at the 2017 Tribeca Ball!

Guests will have the opportunity to explore all six floors of the historic Franklin Street building that houses NYAA, while visiting with 110 MFA artists in their studios over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Dinner guests move on to an elegant meal prepared by renowned chef Daniel Boulud. With live entertainment, and surprises around every corner, the evening is guaranteed to dazzle even the most inveterate partygoer. ABC would be delighted if you’d join us in attending!

Your support will directly impact the Academy’s scholarships and educational programming, allowing it to fulfill its mission of training the most talented emerging artists in the skills and techniques essential to the creation of vital contemporary art.

For tickets visit:

In Conversation: Ross Matteson and “Peregrine’s Plate”

Peregrine’s Plate (2016)

Growing up with five siblings in a Pacific Northwest United States family that supported exploration, multicultural exposure, knowledge of current world affairs, creativity, scientific and religious education, Olympia, WA-based sculptor Ross Matteson’s life has always included some form of adventure and imaginative experimentation. Last year, Ross purchased a 1,600 pound custom cut block of Belgian Black marble from ABC Stone. His aim: to create on commission a large plate-shaped sculpture depicting a duck hunt.

After familiarizing himself with the particular species of duck endemic to the area in which the finished sculpture would be displayed, observing and taking thousands of photographs of the bird, and consulting with duck hunters, Ross set to work on his project. Using both CNC technology and traditional sculpting tools, he produced his sculpture:
Peregrine’s Plate.

The density and integrity of ABC’s marble was up to the challenge of what might be regarded as a “pushing” of the material: the finished weight of the sculpture is four-hundred pounds, but it is exquisitely finely wrought and delicate. “After it was complete,” says Ross, “when I tapped lightly on each open wing of the central bird in the composition with my finger, they rang like bells! There was even a beautiful harmonic resonance between the two. Fortunately, everyone else had the wisdom not to even get close to touching those wings!”

We recently had a chance to speak with Ross about
Peregrine’s Plate, his career as a sculptor, his creative process, and how he came to select ABC’s Belgian Black marble for this project. (Read to the very end for an amazing photo gallery documenting the process by which Ross created his sculpture!)

ABC Stone: How would you describe yourself?

Ross Matteson: I like to think of myself as a community builder, often using visual art to help bring people together around shared values. I am fearless about addressing big issues (social equality; politics; religion; education; the environment; agriculture) and seeking originality, beauty and potential where others may not.

ABC: When did you begin making sculptures?

RM: From childhood. Full-time, professionally: from 1987.

ABC: How did you determine the size and density of the block you would need, and how did you decide upon the material Belgian Black?

RM: A finished, quality piece of this marble can look like black glass, only with an organic lifelike warmth about it. It is a rare, beautiful and prestigious material. The site specific requirements of this particular indoor entryway sculpture dictated the dimensions. I was blessed with clear renderings of an exquisite architectural setting along with an intelligent plan to place a sculptural focal point just inside the doorway on a predetermined round table. I knew that the table would be seven feet in diameter, allowing for me to propose a centered, relatively delicate “subject relevant” concept of a smaller diameter to the broker and client. The line of sight through the building from the front door looks out onto a beautiful landscape, including a large migratory duck pond. The logical subject, in this context, was three ring-necked ducks in a flooded corn field where much of the collector’s duck hunting occurs.

The narrative in the visually active composition that I imagined is that these ducks are panicking and moving in response to a natural predator. I decided that this unseen predator was to be a peregrine falcon since, as a falconer, I hunt ducks with peregrine falcons and am familiar with the defense behavior of ducks when falcons are above them. One of my ducks had to be taking flight with his wings up to add drama to my story while still honoring, and not blocking, the beautiful view through the glass walls to the pond and landscape. I knew that to carve thin wings of a duck, on the upstroke, would necessitate a very dense and reliable block of stone, and a lot of removed stone. The challenge was that I didn’t know if this larger block of stone that would be required was available, or if it even existed. My proposal was contingent on finding a supplier with a very high level of confidence and integrity.

ABC: How long did it take to create the sculpture?

RM: This is always a difficult question and some sculptors I know give their age, when asked! I was first approached with this opportunity in February of 2016. A contract was finalized in April. My custom quarried and cut stone was ordered in May, arrived in September and the finished piece was delivered in December. I would have preferred a year of carving time, but this is true for all my pieces.

ABC: How did you learn about ABC Stone?

RM: I did an exhaustive internet search for existing Belgian Black marble blocks of the desired size, without success. An intern of mine asked Jonathan LaFarge, her former instructor at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, Vermont, for ideas. He referred me to ABC Worldwide Stone, and you, fortunately, have direct access to the Belgian Black quarry.

When I first got involved with the possibility of buying this really expressive piece of stone, I was pretty uncomfortable. If the stone hadn’t proved to be the right density and integrity for my purposes, this would have been a huge liability. My daughter happened to be in New York at the time and I sent her to meet Ken at ABC after he and I began to correspond. She attended one of your events and was treated very nicely and, frankly, this was an important part of me doing business with ABC Stone. (*laughs*)

ABC: Why do you feel that your sculpture constituted a “pushing” of the material?

RM: Belgian Black is hard, brittle and expensive. A poorly chosen stone has been described by one of my colleagues as “downright explosive.” It just so happens that the meaning and “action” in my piece is explosive/ panicked/moving — but not in pieces on the floor! Bringing visual motion to a cohesive inanimate object is a simple idea but difficult goal. One of the ways I approach visual motion in the poses and lyricism of my compositions is by staying alert to the difference between “potential motion” and “frozen motion.” I think that many artists would agree that elegance can require a high level of craftsmanship. There was no room for error in executing this piece given some of the thin, polished and unsupported forms.

Much of my carving time was spent in thought or in conducting tests. I had to pre-engineer what tools to use along the sequence of cutting and polishing my stone. Open wings and extended heads all had posts or bridges of stone connected to them until the very last part of the carving process. In addition, an elaborate device was invented for lifting the finished sculpture.

ABC: Would you give us a rundown of your creative process.

RM: Most of what I really do when carving a sculpture is to stare at both the material and reference and just think. I am always learning about the vastness of a three-dimensional surface. I am not satisfied easily and my self-critique is brutal, but usually very internal and private. Memories sometimes help synthesize a needed refinement or satisfaction with what is there. In other words, I trust a memory of how an escaping duck made me feel more than a video, photograph, or taxidermied reference. The reason is simple: a feather is not a piece of marble. Everything needs to work with the time, materials, tools, lighting and experience at hand. Being around people such as Ken, the art broker, architect, or collector on this project, who are passionate about a subject, material, or tool that I am working with, is a crucial part of the community responsible for helping bring my original ideas to light. On a piece like Peregrine’s Plate, I initially sculpt a maquette as reference. In this project, it was very helpful to create a life-sized model.

I work to understand the potential of each material I use and, as I mentioned, also enjoy support from family, a rich network of colleagues, subcontractors, and suppliers that rally around unique ideas worthy of community support. Distracted, childlike observations of the world around me continually spawn metaphors. One example is an intersecting wave pattern in front of a swimming Bufflehead duck resulting in a sculpture titled Ripple Effect. Another example, in Peregrine’s Plate, is the drakes opening wings thoughtlessly knocking the hen’s head to the side in the panic of the escape. I think that such metaphors, often inspired by the natural world, come to light because I care about their relevance to humanity. I love making site-specific art that may be sensitive to design factors in a commission, but that is also inspiring to me, relevant over time and draws from a wide choice of incredibly rich and diverse permanent media available. Of course, making anything to last for centuries, (let alone, to be cared about by generations of owners) is a pretty good challenge!

“Enduring Grace” is a signature goal of mine. It transcends cliché art categories such as “Wildlife Artist,” or “Contemporary Artist,” and can better represent any art that is unique, but meaningful across both time and culture. Over many centuries, Belgian Black marble has already proved its cross-cultural appeal. In the finished sculpture, Peregrine’s Plate, it was structurally and aesthetically foundational to my goal of expressing what I hope will be considered relevant, beautiful, and graceful over many years.

Peregrine’s Plate (2016)
by Ross Matteson
Olympia, WA
Belgian Black marble
37” diameter by 14” high
private collection
photos courtesy of Matteson Sculpture studio

Transitioning from the music recording industry, which was his first career path after graduating from the Evergreen State College, Ross has been practicing sculpture for the last twenty-seven years and has had his work appear in over 150 shows. His sculptures are in the permanent collections or have been exhibited in such museums as the Woodson Art Museum (Wausau, WI), the National Museum of Wildlife Art (Jackson, WY), the Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, OK), the Natural History Museum (London, United Kingdom), the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK), the Bennington Center for the Arts (Bennington, VT), other museums around the country for shows sponsored by the “Society of Animal Artists” (New York, NY), and in numerous commercial galleries, private, corporate and public collections around the world.

To learn more about Ross, and his work, visit

New interactive 3-D map visualizes Downtown Manhattan’s future (from The Architect’s Newspaper)

Launched by the Alliance for Downtown New York, a free interactive 3-D map (dubbed LM3D) uses real-time data to show all current and development projects one-square-mile south of Chamber Street. Although it may seem very specific, Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the United States. The map will display all residential, office, retail, and hospitality developments, as well as open space and transit.

Users can view information on individual buildings, select specific areas to learn about land use, building and unit counts, identify key corridors, see upcoming developments, and sort between residential, hotel, office, transportation, institutional, retail, and restaurant services.

By the end of the year, LM3D should also provide historic data on the area’s development. The map is in beta and currently accessible through the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers. View this article at ARCH PAPER.

ABC’s own Sueey Gutierrez appearing in Women’s History Month group show

Our very own Sueey Gutierrez’s work will appear in Womens History Month: A Woman’s Perspective, a curated group show of female artists, in Huntington, NY.

Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Ripe Art Gallery
1028 Park Avenue
Huntington, NY 11743
Tel: 631.239.1805

The show will feature diverse female artists from around the country including Kat Ryalls, Rondi Casey, Dorothy A. Holmes, Yvonne O’Gara, Caitlin Clifford, Sherry Dooley, Tracy Wisehart-Plaisance, Maria Kramer, Eden Folwell, Dominique Steffens, Laura Shuran Meseroll and McKayla Lankau. More artists and details to come…

Why Related Companies is one of the most innovative companies of 2017 (from Fast Company)

How do you turn a once-barren stretch of Manhattan’s far West Side into a genuine neighborhood? “It’s as much about embracing the public as it is having commercial spaces and residential units,” says Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, the real estate developer behind the $25 billion Hudson Yards project. “[Hudson Yards] is not meant to be an enclave.” To succeed, Related is bringing together an array of lifestyle brands (including its own, SoulCycle and Equinox) and public amenities to create a private development with broad public appeal. Here’s how the project is creating a new model for urban revival. View this article at FAST COMPANY.

Stone Discoveries: Luget Limestone

Barneys New York, 660 Madison Avenue

Luget is a beige limestone, distinct for its homogeneity and the smooth consistency of its graining. It is quarried exclusively in the commune of Pranzac, in the Charente department in southwestern France. Upon reaching the town for my visit to the quarry, I was immediately struck by the appearance before me of the Castle of Pranzac: a large, crumbling ruin from the early feudal period. I had been struck by both the beauty of this lingering vestige of a time long lost, and the irony that, so close to what was in its heyday the height of decorative arts, is a quarry from which we cull raw materials for treasured ruins of the future.

The Luget quarry covers over 130,000 square feet, and the company which operates it produces approximately 30,000 cubic feet of limestone each year, primarily supplying large scale projects—for which reason is this stone ideal for such projects. In the recent past, the quarry has provided material for Barneys New York at 660 Madison Avenue, various museum pedestals in the Galerie Richelieu of the Musée du Louvre, and several of the chateaux and wineries of Bordeaux.

The most common finishing technique employed with this material is honing, a process of sharpening with hand scrapers and plane blades to achieve a smooth, flat consistency. Giving the stone this kind of clarity of texture tends to highlight its striking uniformity, and the muted and consistent nature of its graining. It is a disarmingly warm, earthy stone, with gold, at other times, ochre, hues; and, superlative as a building material for residential interiors when textured with an antic or brushed surface.

Perhaps the key to the splendor of Luget limestone is its versatility: at home in modern interiors as well as treads and copings, employed as veneer or with dynamic dimensionality. Luget can even be used as a cobblestone, hence giving the material extensive purchase as a resource for landscape architects and urban designers.

Luget quarry

Most frequently applied as residential flooring, paving and wall-cladding, Luget stone’s versatility is evident in that it can also be carved, allowing for a variety of elaborate and beautiful frontages for the structures it adorns,—such as the relatively recently constructed, extremely modern Yorkville condominium development at 170 East End Avenue.

The natural stone currently on view at ABC represents only the finest rocks on earth. Procured from 6 continents, ABC has truly moved mountains across oceans to bring the finest stone on earth to the A&D community. We are honored to bring to you Luget limestone, from the south of France.

ARDEX S 28™ MICROTEC(R): Launching February 13th, 2017

Rapid-Set, Rapid-Dry, Super-Format Tile
and Uncoupling Membrane Mortar

“The Most Advanced Mortar Technology
for Large  and Super Format Tile”

We are excited to announce the launch of ARDEX S 28™ MICROTEC® – SAP# 25471.
ARDEX S 28 is a very unique, high-performance, rapid drying and rapid hardening,
microfiber-reinforced, polymer-modified tile and stone mortar,
with ARDEX Self Drying Technology. 

Unmatched performance and protection for super-format tile
and uncoupling membrane installations!

Key Features
ARDEX Self Drying Technology – (Rapid Drying, Rapid Hardening and NO Shrinkage!)
Walk on and grout in just 4 hours
Extended open time of 45 minutes
Perfect for large and super-format tile and stone installations
Semi-pourable consistency; easily enables full tile coverage
Thin to medium bed installation up to 5/8″ (15 mm)
75-minute pot life
For use on interior floors and walls

Available Sizes 
40 lb. (18 kg)  Gray
SAP# 25471 

Click here, to visit the ARDEX S 28 product page on the website.
Click here, to view the ARDEX S 28 product sheet
Click here, to view the ARDEX S 28 tech data