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By Laura Thomas
San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 2006
JEWEL-LIKE LIGHTING / Love Lamps -- sculptures that glow
is an artist like few in the art world. It's his obsession with detail that prompts ArtHaus co-owner James Bacchi to describe him that way.
The Los Angeles artist made his mark with fabulous papier-mache masks and a string of Kewpie dolls with big breasts and rear ends done in every color. For the past few years, Kurtzman has turned his attention to working in bronze and, most recently, he's making lamps from bits of glass in tremendous globes with steel bases. His Love Lamps are practical -- they come with dimmers -- as well as works of art.
"I call these light sculptures Love Lamps because they truly are a labor of love. Each lamp takes so many hours, and the result of the texture of light they emit is the payoff that staves off the tedium of the creating," Kurtzman said.
Bacchi, who is showing Love Lamps in his Brannan Street gallery, discovered Kurtzman in New York City 20 years ago and has followed his work ever since.
"There's no one else like him," Bacchi said.
Each piece of glass in the globes is filed and wrapped in copper wire before leading. The globes are mounted on metal that is allowed to rust (Amber lamp below, $1,400) or on cast concrete.
Love Lamps range from $700 to $4,000 and include some pendants (shown above), which are temporarily sold out at ArtHaus.
The lamps are good indoors or out. The Blue Lamp "reminds me of a shrub," Bacchi said. "I would love to see it outside."
One of Kurtzman's latest inventions is the Pine Cone Love Lamp, which was inspired by a pine tree in front of his house. The cone is made of green and amber glass fused with chocolate-colored glass nipples, and the canopy is made of brass rods.
"I love these fixtures best, although they're ridiculously time consuming to make," he said. "But for me, it's ultimately worth the effort."