William (Bill) Tarr

William Tarr (1925-2006) was an American sculptor best known for monumental works such as the 5,900-pound, bronze-cast "The Gates of Hell (aka The Gates of the Six Million) at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in New York City. Located at the M.L.K. Jr. Educational Campus at 122 Amsterdam Avenue, at 120 feet in girth this is one of the largest welded-steel sculptures in the world, and was declared the "Best Monument in New York City" by New York magazine.

The New York City-born, self-taught sculptor began creating his first pieces in 1946 from old lumber and downed trees before making metal-welded works of the kind with which he would become most identified. Tarr also worked in concrete, fiberglass and cast bronze. He exhibited his first sculpture at The Whitney Museum in 1962.  Two years later in another Whitney exhibition, New York Times art critic John Canaday called Tarr's entry a centerpiece of the show, and it was purchased by the Whitney for its permanent collection. Another of his pieces was purchased by the Ford Foundation and donated to The Art Institute of Chicago, where it is also in the permanent collection. In 1974 Tarr was named a Guggenheim Fellow.  

After moving to Sarasota in 1977, Bill Tarr was commissioned to create the county's first outdoor public art. The 3,800-pound geometric sculpture, "The Spirit of Sarasota," and was described by the Herald-Tribune as “a monument to the ages." Among his last completed works was a 3,650-pound bronze memorial to Vietnam War veterans. Mrs. Tarr was also collage artist, playwright, and bestselling author.

 

Works:
"Gates of Hell," aka "Gates of the Six Million,” 1993, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, 1985, Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus, New York
"The Spirit of Sarasota," Sarasota County Administration Center First Sculpture Biennial, Whitney Museum of Art, 1963
Whitney Museum of Art Permanent Collection Art Institute of Chicago Permanent Collection (Gift from the Ford Foundation, 1962)
Untitled Cor-Ten steel sculpture, 1972, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Community Care Center, East 142nd Street, New York City
Steel Door Sculpture, 102 Greene Street, New York. Neiman-Marcus Collection, Coral Gables & Dallas Stores
("Morningside Heights" sculpture, New York City Public School 36, w. 123 St, 1967-1991)