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Keywords

Aluminum , Bordas , City of Pittsburgh, Sculpture

Artwork Type

Other 3D Work, Permanent, Sculpture, Removed



Untitled, 1973

Edward Bordas



Photo

Photo
Commissioning Entity Squirrel Hill Library Sculpture Commission
Owner City of Pittsburgh

In 2017, Untitled by Edward Bordas found a new home at the Schenley Swimming Pool in Oakland. The aluminum sculpture was originally commissioned for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Squirrel Hill, and has not been viewed by the public in nearly twenty years. Untitled was removed from its location in the mid-1990s for conservation, but when the hired restoration firm went bankrupt, the sculpture found itself in a Public Works warehouse under the 62nd Street Bridge. 

For years, no one knew where Untitled was located until it was discovered in the warehouse in the mid-2000s. Still in need of conservation, the sculpture was sent to McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory in Oberlin, Ohio, where it remained until it was reinstalled at its new location in Oakland. 

Forty-four years ago, Bordas and fellow sculptors Peter Calaboyias, James Myford, and Thomas Morandi submitted winning proposals for a competition to enhance the outdoor public space of the Carnegie Library Branch in Squirrel Hill. The project was initiated by local painter Geri Taper, and Jerrold B. Rouby, executive director of the Arts and Crafts Center (now Pittsburgh Center for the Arts), laid the groundwork to commission the four artists to create their sculptures for the library. 

Rouby established the Squirrel Hill Library Sculpture Commission, and its chairwoman was Diane Cooperman Katz. Katz spearheaded a drive to raise the approximately $25,000 needed to pay for the sculptures, which contradicts several, more recent sources that claim the sculptures were paid for by the City of Pittsburgh's percent for art program. Katz organized a Fair Day along Forbes Avenue in October of 1973 to raise money for the works, which would eventually add to the $11,000 raised by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition before the fair. 

At its unveiling in 1973, Untitled graced the wall of one of the library's outside terraces. Bordas, known for creating abstracted geometric sculptures made from various materials, designed Untitled as four separate elongated trapezoids, bolted together to make one cohesive piece. Bordas said of the work, "The esthetic characteristics of the paint finish, [a red-orange polyurethane enamel], of course, were most important...much of the beauty of the piece would depend upon shadow and light effects." 

Untitled is the last artwork from the Carnegie Library's Squirrel Hill collection to find a new home. Calaboyias', Myford's, and Morandi's works were relocated to Mellon and Grandview Parks. 

By Rachel Klipa, Office of Public Art


Sources

Margie Carlin, "Colored Plastic Adds Dimension To Show," The Pittsburgh Press, March 14, 1973. 

Eleanor Chute, "A bustling library gets ready for a makeover," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 8, 2004. 

Marilyn Evert, Discovering Pittsburgh Sculpture (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983), 290. 

Diana Nelson Jones, "Old art piece unveiled anew," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 8, 2006. 

Diana Nelson Jones, "Pittsburgh returning lost art to public," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 10, 2010. 

Donald Miller, "Sculptures in Squirrel Hill Praised," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 29, 1973. 

Timothy McNulty, "City to rehab five public sculptures," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 11, 2008. 

"4 Artists Picked for Sculptures," The Pittsburgh Press, March 12, 1973. 

"Library Fund Drive Slated," The Pittsburgh Press, August 8, 1973. 

"On Fair Day," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 15, 1973. 

"Squirrel Hill Fair To Aid Library," The Pittsburgh Press, September 10, 1973. 

 

Edward Bordas, originally from Vanderbilt, Pennsylvania was a teacher, designer, sculptor, and craftsman. Bordas graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1950 from California State College, and went on to earn a master's degree from West Virginia University in 1956. He served as director of visual training aides at the U.S. Army specialist's school in Japan from 1951-1953, taught sculpture at Seton Hill College (now Seton Hill University), and was chair of the industrial arts department at Greensburg Salem School District.