Tolle Cheaper by the Dozen, 2008 Tolle Cheaper by the Dozen, 2008

Bordering Utopia: Sculptures by Brian Tolle

October 6 – December 12, 2015


Focusing on Brian Tolle’s ongoing interest in American utopian quests, this is the first exhibition to bring together his earliest sculptural work from the 1990s with more recent sculptures. Tolle’s structures look like familiar objects, though at closer examination, this very familiarity calls for further investigation. His objects grow out of detailed historical research that is materialized through highly-crafted work combined with the latest techniques of production.

Tolle is best known for his Irish Hunger Memorial, an extraordinary public commission for Battery Park City, NYC that incorporates a reconstructed family cottage dating from the time of the Emerald Isle's infamous potato famine. He credits the skills needed to realize a public project of this complexity to the experiences in negotiation that he learned as a Political Science student at the University at Albany and as an intern at the New York State Assembly.

Tolle received his BA in Political Science from UAlbany in 1986. He has a BFA from Parsons the New School for Design, NY, and an MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT. His major public works include Irish Hunger Memorial, Battery Park City, NYC, NY; and other projects  in Wales; Los Angeles; and Miami Beach. He is currently, working on public projects in in Brooklyn; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Columbus, OH. His work has been exhibited in the Whitney Biennial; the Liverpool Biennial at the Tate Modern; at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Queens Museum of Art, New York, the Havana Biennial, Cuba among other numerous institutions. He is the recipient of awards from the Irish American Historical Society; the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation; and the Design Commission of the City of New York.

Funding is provided by UAlbany’s Office of the President and Office of the Provost, The University at Albany Foundation, University Auxiliary Services, and the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Additional support for Bordering Utopia: Sculptures by Brian Tolle is provided by the UAlbany Alumni Association.


Press Release

Brian Tolle Studio

Times Union review

Curator video interview


Image credit:
Brian Tolle 
Cheaper by the Dozen, 2008
dolls, Astro turf, plywood, and platinum silicon rubber
40 X 69 X 54 inches