“Angle of Repose,” a sculpture created by artist and actor Daniel Stern, was unveiled at the Agoura Hills Library Wednesday evening at an official installation ceremony. The bronze, featuring a man dozing on a lawn chair with a book on his lap, is the 21st piece to be added to the community’s Art in Pubic Places collection and the first to be purchased by the city’s cultural arts council.
Stern, who was on-hand to greet the public and discuss his work, credits the city with getting his public start. “One of the first shows I ever did was Night at the Adobe,” he told those gathered. “People saw Angel of Repose and said, ‘That would be perfect at the library.'”
Stern, renowned for starring roles in such hit films as Home Alone and City Slickers, said he’s always had his hands in the visual arts, having sculpted as a kid. However, due to his busy acting career, he only began doing it seriously about 15 years ago. A resident of Malibu, Stern helped pioneer the arts commission there with the help of L.A. Arts Commissioner Constance Jolcuvar, who also started the Agoura Hills CAC.
Jolcuvar said she was attracted to this particular piece, because it meets all of the city’s Art in Public Places criteria:
It must be accessible to the public. It must be a creative composition by a professional artist with established work, and it’s in alignment with the city’s vision.
“[Angle of Repose] is fun. It’s playful. It’s interactive,” said Jolcuvar. “It appeals to all ages and it has a soulful message. It’s a perfect addition to our collection.”
Stern said it’s ironic that his piece would find a home at a library. “I was a terrible reader, a dyslexic reader,” he said. “I dropped out of high school, because I could act, I could sculpt, I could sing in the choir, but I was not a straight “A” kind of kid.”
He said he has grown to appreciate reading, and that the name of the piece–which took approximately three months to sculpt and another three to cast–was inspired by a favorite book, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. He said that the figure’s demeanor is one to which he can relate. “I love reading a good book, and I love taking a nap halfway through,” he said.
The actor/artist expressed the importance of bringing art to communities and is currently working on a commissioned piece for the City of Monrovia. He said he’s looking forward to visiting his piece from time to time and having it become a center piece for the city. “I hope the kids are gonna be climbing on this, reading their books on his lap,” he said.