The Art and Architecture of the Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY

Part One: Outdoor Sculpture and Architecture
In this hour-long documentary we will visit the New York State Capitol Building, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza, and the Education Building.  Together, these buildings comprise the largest concentration of state government office buildings in the western hemisphere.  We will examine monumental outdoor sculptures by major artists including Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, Tony Smith, Clement Meadmore, George Rickey, George Sugarman, Forrest Myers, and Francois Stahly that grace the plaza. Professor Rosenthal will discuss the aesthetics, materials, philosophies, and politics involved in these artworks and buildings.  Important biographical information will be offered to help us understand what motivated and inspired the artists and architects. The sculptures are part of the Empire State Art Collection, the largest state art collection on view free to the American public.

To view the film, click here. 

Part Two: Indoor Painting and Sculpture
In the second half of our visit to the Empire State Plaza in Albany, we will see some of the indoor painting and sculpture that comprise the largest state art collection in our country.  We will examine the works of some of the most important American artists of the twentieth century including Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, and Donald Judd, among others.  Professor Rosenthal will explain how the life experiences of these artists shaped their vision, who their influences were, and what their place in history is. He will discuss how the artists made their work.
Do you know who was the first artist in the western tradition to create an all-over drip painting, or who was the first artist to create a kinetic sculpture? You may be surprised by the answers to those questions.

To view the film, click here.


A half-hour documentary about a monumental outdoor mirrored sculpture by Howard Rosenthal in which viewers can see only the sky and its reflections.

Art Tours of New York

For information about in-person tours, please contact Howard Rosenthal here.
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