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Sculptor Robin Antar’s Work Depicts Life in Modern America

Jamie Finch

Robin Antar

Robin Antar working on her newest sculpture, U.S. Constitution in a Knot

Sometimes controversial sculptor Robin Antar (b 1957), rejects critics’ attempts to define her hyper-realistic works as a political statement. Antar considers herself more of an “artist-observer” rather than an activist. Antar insists, “I express all the craziness that is going on in our history, not as a political statement but as an observation of events and trends. My passion is to create virtual records of cultural and personal events that have impacted me greatly.”

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Antar moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 1973. Growing up in Brooklyn in the 70s was tough for those who were born there, which inevitably meant that the New Jersey transplant’s transition would be far from smooth. In today’s society, many would probably consider the move as merely starting a new chapter. However, for Antar, it turned out to be a lesson in survival. Thankfully, she found refuge in art. In 1976, the discovery that Antar suffered from retrolental fibroplasia and had been blind in one eye since birth proved to be a trying time in the young teenager’s life. Once again, Antar turned to art using her compromised vision as a tool. Her dedication to her craft led her to receive a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1981.

Win the Fight by Robin Antar

Win the Fight by Robin Antar

In the early years of Antar’s artistic practice, she heavily focused on abstraction in both her paintings and sculptures, which heavily evolved around her lack of depth perception. After years of creating abstract works inspired by American popular culture, Antar turned to realism. Her “Realism in Stone” series quickly gained notoriety and caught the eye of corporate giants. She began to receive commissions to carve stone replicas of products creating works for an array of companies from Stella Artois to Skechers.

Ballpark Frank by Robin Antar

Ballpark Frank by Robin Antar

Dubbed “Brooklyn’s answer to Andy Warhol,” compared to Claes Oldenburg and Jeff Koons, Antar brings Pop art to stone. Through her distinct brand of hyperrealism, she creates stone monuments of contemporary American culture through everyday items, such as a bottle of Heinz Ketchup, a hamburger with fries, and a giant hot dog on a bun with a bite taken out of it.

North Tower 9-11 by Robin Antar

North Tower 9/11 by Robin Antar

One of her more powerful works is her response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan. The 800-pound white marble sculpture depicts a crushed bag with many colorful M&M candies spilling out of it.

Heinz Ketchup by Robin Antar

Heinz Ketchup by Robin Antar

Most recently, the artist has begun a series of work representing America’s current political environment. Included is an enormous replica of the white “Make America Great Again” golf cap Donald Trump wore on the 2016 campaign trail. It aroused so much controversy on social media that she decided to remove photos of the artwork from her website and social media for several months. Currently, she is fine tuning a fourfoot-high marble and granite sculpture of “The U.S. Constitution in a Knot” for the series. The thought-provoking piece, set to be completed any day now, will accompany the MAGA campaign hat and a pair of boxing gloves with the title “Win the Fight,” in an upcoming exhibition. It aims to be a rallying cry for both sides of today’s political spectrum. Based on the response from “Make America Great Again,” I can guarantee you the exhibition will be one for the record books.

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