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Payphone, Robert Lazzarini

220px-Robert_Lazzarini.jpg  Advancements in technology inhibits artists to create amazing works due to the vast choices in medium, nor do artist need to limit themselves to two-dimensional digitally produced art.



“The term rapid prototyping (RP) refers to a class of technologies that can automatically construct physical models from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) data. These “three dimensional printers” allow designers to quickly create tangible prototypes of their designs, rather than just two-dimensional pictures.” [1] Robert Lazzarini’s “Payphone used CAD and RP to evolve distortions of recognizable objects.” [2] “One of New York sculptor Robert Lazzarini’s best pieces: 2002’s payphone. The piece debuted in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, where it had an entire room to itself. It has been exhibited widely ever since, including in John Ravenal’s 2003 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Lazzarini exhibit and in a Carla Hanzal show at the Mint Museum of Art in 2006. Payphone is made from the exact materials a New York City pay phone was made out of: Steel, aluminum, Plexi, gunk, materials and processes requiring 45 fabricators. The work’s distortion gives it a futuristic feel — even as pay phones are increasingly out-of-date.” [3] “His beautiful yet unsettling works address the physical, psychological and emotional implications of this distortion…Lazzarini’s sculptural process begins with familiar objects, which he photographs and scans into a computer. Using computer design programs, he subjects the images to radical distortions, then transforms the virtual objects into full-size three-dimensional models through rapid prototyping, a method of computer-generated model-making. These models form the basis of the final sculptures, which he produces to scale and from the same materials as the original objects. Appearing to expand and contract as viewers shift vantage points, the works seem to collapse upon themselves or, in the artist’s words, “slip toward their own demise” [4]

Interview with Lazzarini: 


A RP 3D printer at work: 


Reference similar work on the Online Companion: 


Safe Shotgun

Lazzarini Biography 

[1] PSU. “Rapid Pro Printing.” Last accessed November 29, 2012,

[2] Edward Shanken, Art and Electronic Media (Themes & Movements), (New York: Phaidon Press, 2009) 27

[3] Art Info.”Payphone”. Last accessed November 29, 2012,

[4] Art and Culture. “Robert Lazzarini.” Last accessed November 29, 2012,