Public Table by Scott Burton

What began in 2009 as a plan for an interactive map has evolved into a multilayered website that is now live. Below is a sample of what you will find when you visit Campus Art Princeton.

Scott Burton, American, 1939–1989: Public Table, 1978–79. Cast concrete, h. 83 cm, diam. 610 cm, diam. of top of sculpture: ca. 396 cm. Museum purchase, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a matching gift from the Mildred Andrews Fund (y1980-11). © 2013, Scott Burton, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / photo: Bruce M. White

Scott Burton championed functional art, creating works that he described as “sculpture in love with furniture.” Calling to mind the simplified geometric forms of Minimalism, Burton’s table, an inverted cone balancing on a wide circular base, offers students and passersby a place to socialize or study.
Kelly Baum, Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art: “For inspiration, [Burton] looked back to early twentieth-century Russian constructivists who privileged structure, the integrity of materials, and potential for social use . . . ”
Norman Muller, conservator at the Princeton University Art Museum: “Using construction drawings of [an identical] Minneapolis example, a plywood form was made for the flat circular base, which surrounds a steel central post. Concentric rings of steel reinforcing rods with lateral crossbars were attached to this post, much like an internal armature, to strengthen the concrete as it dried. Once the concrete was poured, the base was left to dry for two weeks.”
Photographer Bruce M. White: “I had been lugging my gear around campus that hot and humid summer morning and was feeling the heat; I calculated that I would have to wait about half an hour more for the right light, so I tried to stay cool in the shade and waited nearby my camera. As the appointed time to photograph neared, I saw several figures approaching: four young children, accompanied by their mom, all carrying icecream cones. The children raced toward Public Table, and, before I could react, they leaped onto the sculpture.”


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