Antoni Milkowski

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Antoni Milkowski (born 1935 – died 2001) was an American minimalist sculptor.


Antoni "Tony" Milkowski was born October 7, 1935 in Evanston, Illinois. He was also known as "Antek", particularly by his family. When he was two years old, the family moved to New York City. He attended Kenyon College where he received a degree in biology in 1957. For a time, he considered pursuing a career in medicine, taking additional science courses at Columbia University. Instead, in 1958, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Officers Candidate Program. While stationed in San Diego, California he took drawing and art history courses at the University of California, Berkeley extension program.

Discharged from the Marine Corps in 1961, Milkowski returned to New York and worked for a time as a recreation leader for the NYC Parks Department. The following year, he enrolled in an M.A. program at Hunter College. He worked on and off in the Queens parks during this time and also taught at the Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center.

In 1963, while at Hunter College, Milkowski began studying with Tony Smith (sculptor), Ad Reinhardt, Michael Ponce de Leon, George Sugarman and Eugene Goossen. His interactions with these artists, in addition to his meeting David Smith (sculptor), cemented his desire to pursue sculpture.

It was in 1964-1965, while a Fulbright Scholar in Poland (where he also taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw), that Milkowski was invited to participate in the Biennial of Forms in Space, where he created his first major large-scale public work entitled "Poland Column". During this period, he began to develop his aesthetic of merging geometry and repetition, mainly in modular units and generally in steel. Over the years, he refined his methods and became interested in the concept of negative space and of the three-dimensional form in space.

The sculpture Salem No. 7, from 1968, exemplifies these ideas. The piece consists of seven rectangular prisms (34" x 34" x 48" each) and has a total size of 4' high x 28' long x 4' deep. The massive scale is offset by its expansive and open surroundings. Additionally, the contrast between the manmade, cold material and the lushness of the landscape surrounding it create the type of contrast that Milkowski often sought in his work. When observing Seven up close, it becomes apparent that the artist used unfinished edges which brings to mind drawn edges one might see in painting. When viewing the piece from afar and from different angles, however, the user has the opportunity to see an ever-shifting work. In high light or low light, from back or front, in winter or summer, the viewer is privy to seeing something new with each successive viewing.

In 1974, Milkowski married artist and teacher Susan Hartung. They had two children together. After retiring from Hunter College, where he taught from 1966 to 1998, he lived and continued creating art in East Chatham, New York. He died in 2001.

Permanent Installations

2012 Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield MA

2012 State University of New York, Albany NY

2007 Kenyon College, Gambier OH

2006 Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany NY

2003 The Fields, Art OMI, Ghent NY

1988 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

1975 Hudson Valley Community College, Troy NY

1973 Marine Midland Center, Buffalo NY

1972 Madison Square Park, NYC (moved to Bellevue Park, NYC in 2001)

1971 Hornick Factory, Haverstraw NY

1968 Area 12, Charles Center, Baltimore MD

1968 Bradley Sculpture Park, Milwaukee WI

1968 Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo NY

1967 South Mall Project, Albany NY

1965 Elblag, Poland

Selected Exhibitions

2008 SculptureNow, Lenox MA

2002 One-person Show, In Memoriam, Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield MA

2001 Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood ’01, Stockbridge MA Also 1996, 1991, 1985, 1982

2001 Three-person show, Art Sites, Greenport NY

2001 Art and Mathematics, Koussevitzky Art Gallery, Pittsfield MA

2000 Museum Ball and Contemporary Art Auction, Albany Museum of History and Art, Albany NY. Also 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1992, 1991

1999 Set in Steel, a retrospective, Hunter College, Times Square Gallery, NYC

1999 Roundout Biennial Sculpture Exhibitions, Kingston NY. Also 1998 and 1997.

1997 Hunter College Benefit Auction, Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, NYC

1996 Hunter College Faculty Exhibition, The Art Gallery, Hunter College, NYC. Also 1993.

1994 Sculpture at Naumkeag, Stockbridge MA

1993 The Rickey Collection of Constructivist Art, Neuberger Museum, Purchase NY

1992 Bridges, Boulevard Project-Space, Albany NY

1991 Eight Young Artists: Then and Now – 1964 & 1991, Hunter College, NYC

1990 Two-person show, Contemporary Art, University of Slask, Cieszyn, Poland

1988 In Memory of John Bernard Myers, Kouros Gallery, NYC

1988 Two-person show, College of Saint Rose, Albany NY

1988 Art as Act: Representing Vietnam, Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, NYC

1986 Tricentennial Salute to Sculpture, Academy Lafayette Park, Albany NY

1985 Aspects of Constructivism, The Atrium Gallery, G. E. Corporation, Schenectady NY

1985 Steel. . . The Show, The Gallery, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany NY

1980 Wards Island Show, NYC

1979 Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield MA

1977 Seven Area Artists, Hudson Valley Community College, Troy NY

1976 American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, NYC

1973-1999 sculpture on exhibit, State University of New York at Albany, Albany NY

1973 sculpture on exhibit, Tanglewood Music Center, Lenox MA

1971 John C. Myers Gallery, NYC

1970 Jewish Museum, NYC

Academic and Professional Honors

1990-1991 City University of New York Research Grant for large-scale sculpture

1990 Artist’s Residency, Association of Norwegian Artists, Svolvaer, Norway

1990 Lecturer, Slask University, Cieszyn, Poland

1984 Artist in Residence, Washington State University, Pullman WA

1977 National Sculpture Conference, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Invited to participate in panel on scale and environment.

1976 Artist in Residence, Artpark, Lewiston NY

1974 NEA Matching Grant for Hudson Valley Community College, Troy NY

1973-1974 City University Research Grant for large-scale sculpture

1973 Inclusion in HUD publication, “Sculpture for Public Places”

1971-1972 City University of New York Research Grant for large-scale sculpture

1968-1969 Design in Steel Awards, citation for excellence

1964-1965 Fulbright Joint Government Grant for study in Poland. Worked in sculpture and graphics at Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. Conducted seminars and lectures on contemporary American art.

Selected Bibliography

Glueck, Grace, “Antoni Milkowski, ‘Set in Steel’,” New York Times, November 19, 1999.

“Campus Adorned with More Sculpture this Fall,” Hofstra News, September 1988, p. 2.

“Milkowski’s Sculpture on Exhibit Now at Sutters Antiques and Art, Chatham Magazine, August 1986, p. 16.

Wright, Peg, “Brush Marks,” Schenectady Gazette, August 29, 1985.

Johnson, Ken, “Chesterwood: An Outdoor Gallery of Art,” Albany Times Union, August 25, 1985.

Russell, Gloria, “Sculpture and Nature in Harmony at Chesterwood,” Springfield Sunday Republican, July 7, 1985.

Bonenti, Charles, “Sculpture at Chesterwood,” Berkshire Eagle, July 22, 1982, p. 21.

Bell, Winifred, “A Perfect Sculpture Setting,” Berkshire Eagle, October 4, 1979, p. 11.

Pasquine, Ruth, “Sculpture on Display at BCC,” Berkshire Eagle, October 3, 1979, p.4.

Hawkins, Stephen, “Chatham Sculptor Creating Work to be Placed at HVCC,” Berkshire Eagle, December 22, 1975, p. 34.

“East Chatham Sculptor’s Design Fabricated at Stephentown Plant,” The Echo, December 20, 1975, p. 1.

Dicker, Fredric U., “HVCC Sculpture Accepted Reluctantly,” The Times Union, July 2, 1975, p. 3.

Shirey, David L., “Paramus Sculpture Show Covers Half-Mile,” New York Times, June 30 1971, p.30.

Baro, Gene, “Decisive Art Collection of the Barton G. Tremains,” Vogue, February 1969, p. 132.

Design in Steel Awards Catalog, 1969, p. 42.

Battock, Gregory, ed., Minimal Art, A Critical Anthology, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1968, pp. 165-174.

House Beautiful, November 1968.

“Art World Hails Antoni Milkowski,” Polish American Journal, April 13, 1968, p.6 Time Magazine, October 13, 1967, p. 81.

Glueck, Grace, “Sculpfest,,” New York Times, June 25, 1967, p. 23.

Glueck, Grace, “New York Gallery Notes,” Art in America, May/June 1967, pp. 114. 116 “Lost Leonardos,” Newsweek, February 27, 1967, p. 98.

Glueck, Grace, “On the Whole, It’s Avant Garde,” New York Times, January 28, 1967, p. C23.

Goossen, E. C., “Distillation: A Joint Showing,” Artforum, November 1966, p. 32.

Browne, Rackstraw, “Reviews and Previews,” Artnews, Summer 1966, p. 64.

Kwiatowski, Gerard, “We are Optimistic,” Poland Illustrated Magazine, January 1966, p. 7

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