THE SMITHSON PLAZA, ST JAMES'S ST, SW1A 1HA
American sculptor Jedd Novatt will be celebrated with a solo exhibition at Smithson Plaza, formerly The Economist Plaza, in London St James’s, as part of a dynamic public arts programme organised by international real estate developer Tishman Speyer and curated by Encounter Contemporary.
Novatt, who recently enjoyed a successful exhibition Jedd Novatt: Conversations with Gravity at Waddington Custot on nearby Cork Street, presents three large-scale sculptures at Smithson Plaza, constructed in asymmetrical, quadratic shapes in stainless steel. Each at almost three metres high, these works are part of Novatt’s Chaos series which he has been rigorously developing for over a decade. Works in this series have been permanently installed in numerous prominent international locations including Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida; Chatsworth House, Derbyshire UK; and City of Bilbao, Spain.
Novatt creates sculptures of complex compositions that convey a sense of weightlessness and ethereal balance, which contrasts with the heavy weight of the industrial metals he uses. The geometric precision of his sculptures’ open cubic forms is subverted by breaks and intersecting shapes, so that they appear on the verge of collapse. The minimal structural design and clean, linear construction of Smithson Plaza, widely recognised as a triumph of post-war Brutalist architecture, further emphasises the thrusting materiality of Novatt’s sculptures, and their relationships between solid material and space.
Jacob Twyford, Director of Waddington Custot, said:
‘It is with great pleasure that we support the installation of these three key works from Jedd Novatt’s Chaos series in an important historical site in London. Waddington Custot is committed to supporting our artists’ ambitious projects with particular focus on monumental sculpture, and Smithson Plaza was a natural fit.’
The plaza was completed in 1964 by British architects Alison and Peter Smithson, and is their last remaining building in London. It has undergone substantial renovation under the stewardship of Tishman Speyer, including the renaming to ‘Smithson Plaza’ to celebrate the acclaimed architectural duo. Novatt joins a significant roster of established artists to exhibit at the plaza, including Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Barry Flanagan, Lynn Chadwick, Anthony Caro, and Barbara Hepworth.
Dan Nicholson, Managing Director of Tishman Speyer UK, said:
‘Smithson Plaza has a long history of showcasing public artworks of leading established and emerging artists. It’s a pleasure to continue that tradition with our renewed public arts programme, bringing Jedd Novatt’s remarkable works to such an important historical site in London. The activation of the plaza has been an integral part of our strategy to reposition Smithson Plaza as a best-in-class West End office destination from the very start. We look forward to unveiling the art to the public in the near future.’
Tishman Speyer have a longstanding commitment to the visual arts and are known for their management of key 20th century architectural icons such as New York’s Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center. With the reinstatement of the contemporary sculpture programme, Smithson plaza returns to its original purpose of serving the public and the city as a cultural gathering place and focal point for the St James’s community.
About the artist
Jedd Novatt (b. 1958, Brooklyn, New York) graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, New York, in 1980, and went on to pursue sculpture at Lacoste School of Art, France (later merged with Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia). He returned to New York in 1981 and had his first solo exhibition at Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Novatt was invited to participate in Beyond Limits, Sotheby’s annual exhibition at Chatsworth in 2008 (and later in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016). His work has entered important international public collections, including List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts; El Paso Museum of Art, Texas; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida; Chatsworth House Trust, Derbyshire; and Yountville, Napa Valley, California. Novatt lives with his family in Paris, and divides time between his studios in Paris, France; Ménerbes, Provence; and Basque Country, Spain.
About Smithson Plaza
Smithson Plaza is a modernist architectural icon completed in 1964 by celebrated British architects Alison and Peter Smithson in the heart of St James’s. In 2018, it underwent a substantial refurbishment under Tishman Speyer’s stewardship, delivering refurbished offices, homes, parking, retail and a substantial 4,600 sq. ft gallery space, while reconnecting with the Smithsons’ original design. A new lobby and a 1,500 sq ft café with outdoor seating will welcome occupiers and visitors to Smithson Plaza. For over half a century, the plaza has hosted the sculptures of established and emerging artists. The renewed public sculpture programme, curated by Encounter Contemporary, focuses on bringing artworks of significance into the Grade II* listed space. To find out more about Smithson Plaza, please visit https://smithson-plaza.com/
About Tishman Speyer
Tishman Speyer is a leading owner, developer, operator and fund manager of first-class real estate around the world. Founded in 1978, Tishman Speyer is active across the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia, building and managing premier office, residential and retail space in 28 key global markets for industryleading tenants. The firm has acquired, developed and operated a portfolio of over 167 million square feet with a total value of approximately US $88 billion spread over 406 assets. Signature assets include New York City's Rockefeller Center, São Paulo's Torre Norte, The Springs in Shanghai, Lumière in Paris and OpernTurm in Frankfurt. Tishman Speyer currently has projects at different stages of development in Boston, Brasília, Frankfurt, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Washington, DC. The firm also operates portfolios of prominent office properties in Berlin, Chicago and London. For more information, visit tishmanspeyer.com and find us on social @tishmanspeyer.