Steir Egg by Pat Steir. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
«American artist Pat Steir, known for her distinct painting technique, has a work on view in the Met's Modern and Contemporary Art galleries. Through tomorrow, April 17, eagle-eyed Museum visitors can also spot her work in the Great Hall. Steir designed an egg for the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, a citywide event featuring egg sculptures from leading artists and designers from around the world. The eggs will be auctioned off at the end of the hunt, and all proceeds raised will benefit two charities: Elephant Family and Studio in a School. We recently asked Pat a few questions about her creation.»
Metropolitan Museum: The Big Egg Hunt is not just a contest; it's public art. Many people will be encountering [these] artists for the first time. How would you describe your style to participants who are not familiar with your work?
Pat Steir: I approached the egg as "ART"—I made art the best I could. As I do all my paintings, prints, drawings, and site-specific wall paintings and drawings.
Metropolitan Museum: Did working with the egg-as-canvas present any challenges or new opportunities?
Pat Steir: The egg presented a curved surface; I approached it as I would a wall. And I used the same materials and application that I do on walls.
Metropolitan Museum: You said you created your egg with your iconic wave on the surface. What drew you to using it on the egg?
Pat Steir: I used the "wave brushstroke" on the egg because I thought wrapping a brushstroke on an egg would be fun to do.
Metropolitan Museum: How do Japanese and Chinese painting inspire your own technique?
Pat Steir: I am always inspired by what I see in the Asian Art Department at the Met. I also love what I see in the cases around the [Great Hall] Balcony. Sometimes I rush into the Museum just to look into those cases.
Metropolitan Museum: What particular pieces of art in the Met's collection speak to you?
Pat Steir: The piece I especially love in the whole Museum is the power figure at the entrance to the African Art [galleries]: the guy with the nails in him, clenched teeth, two-and-a-half feet high, protecting the whole department. Grrr, grrr...he'd love to be protecting his town forever. But okay, he'll protect the whatever.
The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt is the world's biggest egg hunt, with more than 260 egg sculptures placed across the five boroughs of New York City. Pat Steir's sculpture, along with eggs by Enoc Perez and Chris Carnabuci, are on view in the Museum's Great Hall through tomorrow, April 17.