Shay Rieger was born in NYC where she has spent most of her adult life and has been fascinated with animals since childhood. Instead of the monkey or panda she desired, she had to settle for a little dog for her first pet. As a student at the Art Students League in Manhattan, she found herself exploring ways to finally have all the animals she wanted. The "do not touch" attitude toward large sculptures in museums, inspired her to work in the opposite direction in what she called her "please touch" sculpture. Shay has exhibited her varied and wonderful denizens of the animal world widely with a lifelong highly successful career in art including sculpture, painting, illustrating, writing, and films.
We've chosen quotes below that reflect so eloquently on the richness of her work:
Bertram I Bassuk, Architect: "Each animal she presents has been transformed into a symbol that elicits human affection and empathy towards these creatures. Cast in bronze, in an elegant style that verges on the abstract, they have a dignity that is tinged with humor and seem to invite their audience to come near and touch them. Here is a sculpture for public enjoyment; it's presence in a public space, be it urban or bucolic, would enliven and enrich it."
New York Post: Shay Rieger loves to create animals - in wood, plaster, clay, bronze. "They are recognizable, respected, even loved. Above all they are entirely individual in their perplexity, humor, imagination, yes, their humanity..."
Art News: "Her animals are clutching the earth on which they rest with a kind of unassailable rectitude. Redeemed from grossness, yet they retain weight, and the sly delight in the knowledge of themselves as sports of creation. Her work itself is a parable of her affection and joy."
David H. Engel, Architect: " the sculptures of Shay Rieger are pre-eminent. She arranges her works to relate to the outdoor topography and their surrounding natural forms of rocks, trees, and other plantings. It all becomes a unified, artistic composition because she understands the landscape."
Edgar Tafel-Architect: "Along wih great artistry, Ms. Rieger's animal sculptures are recognizable, charming, and easy to relate to. The Rieger sculpures have grown well over the years, and we all love to look at them, and the children always pat and caress them when passing."
Museums, Public Installations, as well as her Books and Films:
Museums: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, The Muse-Children's Museum, Brooklyn, New York, John H. Hirschhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., Stamford Museum, Stanford,Connecticut
Public Installations: New York Libraries, Warner Communications Building, Rockefeller Plaza, NYC, The Village Nursing Home, NYC, The Presbyterian Hospital, NYC, Covenant House, NYC, The Brotherhood Synagogue, Gramacy Park, NYC, New York Foundling Home, NYC, Ronald McDonald House, NYC
Films: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Selections from the Hirschhorn Collection; It's Fun to Read; The Wonderful World of Childrens Books, The Bronze Zoo; The Clay Circus; The Good Omen; Holocaust-4 Films; The Farm; The Moon and the Willow
Books: The Bronze Zoo; The Stone Menagerie; Animals in Wood, Animals in Stone; Our Family; Gargoyles, Monsters, and Other Beasts; The Secret of the Sabbath Fish; Honi and His Magic Circle; Anthologies