It’s never too late to climb your first mountain, write your first novel … or stun the art world with a spectacular debut. This is the truth exemplified by Albert Nahman, whose first-ever art opening at age 82 offers inspiration to doers and dreamers of all ages. His impact on the fine art community commences on Sept. 6, as Gallery 202 in Franklin, Tennessee, hosts a free public reception for Nahman amidst a display of his astonishing “Angular Man” sculptures — steel and aluminum I-beams fashioned into stylized human forms in vivid colors. The show will also feature a selection of Nahman’s brass and copper mobiles, which reflect the aesthetics of Alexander Calder and supersonic airplane design. His story, though, stretches back through decades of setting the stage for his entrance.
Born on October 25, 1936, Nahman grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His fascination with art began in elementary school. After taking classes at the Art Students League in Manhattan, he pursued more advanced study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He received “hands-on” education when employed by the New York City Parks Department to maintain and restore all municipal sculptures throughout the city, including Central Park and Grant’s Tomb. Lessons in welding at the Long Island Technical School during the 1970s inspired Nahman to begin creating his own sculptures. Since 2000 he and his wife Estelle have lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Can you share memories of the art scene in Brooklyn while you were growing up?
Read you first become interested in art in elementary school. Do you remember who inspired this interest?
Yes, my grammar school teacher Mrs. Arrow.
What artists or professionals have been your biggest influences?
How has the work of Alexander Calder and his innovative mobiles inspired you?
Color and movement.
Classes at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute lead to working with New York City Parks Department to maintain and restore all municipal sculptures. Which projects were the most challenging?
Lessons in welding at the Long Island Technical School during the 1970s inspired you to begin creating your own sculptures. Do you remember the first sculpture you created?
Yes, a small male figure made of welding rods.
What new avenues did you explore when you later moved to Albuquerque?
Large steel 3” sculptures and lapidary work.
“Angular Man” sculptures — what was the inspiration for these sculptures?
I needed some sculptures and bright colors in my garden.
Debuting your art at 82 now in Nashville — how do you see it influencing other artists to pursue their passion?
Numbers do not count, do not give up on your dream.
What do you try to express in your work?
Happiness in color.
What’s involved in selecting materials for each work?
Steel and body movement.
What have been the challenges of your career?
Time, finances and a workshop.
Which artistic project are you most proud of?
Steel angular men and color, all of which are named “Allen” to me.
What do you wish people would ask you in an interview?
Are you happy and do you say “Thank you” every day?