Steven Lowy has established a presence in the art world with over 35 years of experience as a gallery owner, independent curator, private art advisor and exhibiting artist.
As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, Lowy studied Studio Art and completed his thesis as an Art History/English Literature major with world famous art historian Leo Steinberg as his advisor. He also studied Art History at the Ecole du Louvre, and painting and drawing at the Academie du Porte Royale in Paris. While completing his degree, Lowy helped design and open a contemporary art gallery in an historic townhouse in Philadelphia and Portico Row Gallery was born in 1981.
In 1987, Lowy relocated to Manhattan. He began to champion the work of a then obscure artist named Rudolf Bauer (who had been a favorite of Solomon Guggenheim), and became the curator of and advisor to Bauer’s estate in 1989. Lowy helped restore Bauer’s legacy through years of effort, returning his work to the walls of the Guggenheim in 2005, working with Karole Vail (now Director of the Guggenheim in Venice) in the selection of Bauer and Rebay works for an exhibition there entitled Art of Tomorrow: Hilla Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim.
In 2007, Lowy oversaw the publication of the first significant Bauer catalog since the 1930s (200 pp.), to which he also contributed a definitive biographical essay. Lowy also co-produced Betrayal, an Emmy-nominated documentary film about Bauer in 2008 which is narrated by Academy Award winner Linda Hunt.
Lowy’s parallel career as a professional artist dates to the early 1990s when, inspired by the emergence of “Street Art,” he collaborated with master printer Pascal Giraudon on the Urban Imagery Project, a project to “print the street” that spanned five years and two continents. Manhole covers were inked by Giraudon and pressed onto paper by large, multi-axle vehicles such as fire trucks and garbage trucks often hailed down by the two artists on the spur of the moment, with the entire event captured on film and video and then chronicled in collage by Lowy. Three documentary films have been made about the work, two by the artists and one by the City Arts division of WNET 13 which is part of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). The artists did three educational projects with schools in South Central, Los Angeles and Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn. They were also given solo exhibitions in the 1990s at Galerie Les Cyclades in Antibes, France and at Russell Simmon’s Rush Fine Art in Chelsea.
Since then, Lowy’s photographs and collages have been exhibited at Torch Gallery in Amsterdam, Olivier Houg Galerie in Lyons, Galerie Open in Berlin, the Art Cologne, Art Paris, Art Basel, Florence Biennale, Berliner Liste and in a solo exhibition, “Paradise Lost,” at Galerie Anne Moerchen in Hamburg, Germany in 2005.
Lowy’s newest work in ‘solar sculpture’ is an outgrowth of his longstanding interest in alternative energy and is also in keeping with his lineage - his family owned and operated an electrical contracting firm for nearly 100 years. (Lowy & Donnath Electrical Construction, Inc., co-founded by Lowy’s grandfather in 1919 and still in operation today, holds license #1 for electrical construction in New York City.) The son of an electrical engineer and interior designer, Lowy became excited by the notion of applying aesthetics to solar installations to create solar structures that would be pleasing to the eye at the same time that they generate useable energy.
In preparing for fabrication of sculpture #1, now on view, the artist spent several years refining designs, building models and applying for design patents. With the improvement of photovoltaic technology and new efficiencies in LED technologies, Lowy has completed the first iteration of his “Mezzaluna Series.”
Butterfly Effect, which measures 19.5 x 38.75 x 14.5 inches, incorporates two solar panels which when combined are rated at 40 watts. Each day they charge a deep cycle, solar battery that generates 12 Volts DC of electrical energy and can power landscape lighting, small fountains and other manner of low voltage devices as well as emanate light itself through its beautiful stained glass armature.
The artist envisions creating a smaller, indoor tabletop version as a night light/objet d’art and mobile device charger, and a larger version measuring fifteen feet and standing approximately seven feet high that would generate close to 1500 watts of power.
Fusing aesthetics and utility, these sculptures can stand alone or be coupled with more traditional solar installations to help offset private or commercial electric consumption. They can also help meet municipal “percent for law” requirements in place in more than half of the states in the U.S. which require that one percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork. Lowy is also exploring ways to incorporate wind energy into future sculptures to facilitate energy generation day and night.
Steven Lowy would like to thank his studio assistant Brian Slowikowski, Greg Glasson, KC Fabricators and Dodge Stained Glass for their expertise and assistance.