Sunday in the Park with Tim Tate


IN MY PRIVATE moments I secretly call Tim Tate “The Big Man.” Like the late great Clarence Clemons Tim is a physically big man. And like C.C. Tim is a man big of spirit, big of heart, big of talent and ideas. His sculptures of blown and cast glass combined with found objects and videos are emotional and political. They are  fabricated with a master’s touch. A man not afraid of nothin’, Tim faces the big subjects head-on: mortality, beauty, sexuality and art without a trace of cynicism. His work embodies the possibilities of transcendence and love. Without further ado, ladies and gentleman, Mr. Tim Tate, aka The Big Man:


Steam Punk Book Narrative-

My interactive pieces can be seen as disturbing because the face that stares back at the video screen—your own—prompts a variety of responses: amusement, discomfort, embarrassment, something akin to the feeling you have when someone catches you looking at your own reflection in a store window as you pass by.

The finial on the top is a cast glass stack of books with a typewriter. Instead of a video, this piece features a camera, which shows the viewer on the screen. On the front of the wall mounting is a red button, and when pushed, plays the sound of an old typewriter typing. A 1939 Underwood, to be exact. The sound is of the words, “To Kill A Mockingbird” being typed over and over. 2008

But the important revelations here are in the viewer’s response to my hybrid art form and its conceptual nature.  I try to bare everything — the guts of my materials and my inner thoughts — in deceptively simple narrative videos set into specimen jars. Nothing is random, all elements are thought out.

The finial is of a cast glass hand holding a small Victorian bouquet. The video is one of Edison’s early sound tests. It shows 2 men from his lab in Menlo Park dancing to a man playing a way....its a microcosm of new media. the beginnings of new media begin with edisons films. the way we view these men has changed so much over the last century. these men are long dead....they have great great grandchildren somewhere. when first they danced was it amusing? was it just to provide motion? was it easier for 2 men to dance than a man and woman in victorian times? yet a century later who could have guessed that this simple 3 minute moment would be remembered and seen by millions of people. its seems so sweet now. new media and how we view it has changed almost as much over the same century. They are both locked together for eternity in this one beautiful moment. 18 x 6 x 6 2011

To me, these works are phylacteries of sorts, the transparent reliquaries in which bits of saints’ bones or hair — relics — are displayed. In many cultures and religions, relics are believed to have healing powers. My relics are temporal, sounds and moving images formally enshrined, encapsulating experiences like cultural specimens. And perhaps, to the contemporary soul, they are no less reliquaries than those containing the bones of a saint.

The top finial is a cast glass bust of Beethoven. Below, a large dome is surrounded by over one hundreds hands using sign language to spell out the words to Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” Inside, a video of a man’s mouth, singing the Ode To Joy…..but in silence. This is an artistic interpretation of how Beethoven may have experienced the Ode To Joy….since he was completely deaf when he wrote it. 2011


With technology rapidly changing the way we perceive art, the current day contemporary landscape closely mirrors Victorian times in the arts. We marvel at and invent bridges between past and present in an effort to define our time and make sense of this highly transitory moment in artistic history.


Every sculpture tells a story. To see more of Tim’s work and hear the stories that accompany them, check out these web sites:
timtatesculpture [at] aol dot com


About Melissa Stern

Born to mammalian parents, Melissa learned to run with the gazelles and throw a javelin like a pro while still a wee babe. She began to make arty things at a young age which eventually made her virtually unemployable. The world is often too much with her, but she steadfastly drinks only one cup of coffee a day. For more fun facts please visit her web site-
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2 Responses to Sunday in the Park with Tim Tate

  1. tim tate says:

    thank you so much melissa…….i so often feel completely obscure…..its great to have someone like you completely understand and appreciate my work. a lovely article…

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