George Greenamyer

American, 1939-2023

The Art Complex Museum was saddened by the death of sculptor, George Greenamyer on April 26, 2023. The artist’s kinetic works and public sculptures, like Five Shaker Houses, 1976, on the grounds of the museum, celebrate the working class and golden age of industrial manufacturing.

Greenamyer was interested in Shaker design and equally intrigued by the Shaker lifestyle and philosophy. Modeled after the Shaker meetinghouse at Mount Lebanon, New York, Five Shaker Houses commemorates the museum’s extensive Shaker collection. Its five houses represent a social ideal, a utopian image of the society’s dwellings sustained by industrial power, in the form of the locomotive on which the houses are displayed. Its wheels came from scrap discards from the Edaville Railroad, in Carver, Massachusetts, and the smokestacks underscore the power of the locomotive and offer visual balance to the sculpture.

Throughout his career, Greenamyer was commissioned to fabricate numerous public art works, collaborating with landscape architects, transportation agencies, and cultural organizations throughout the country. These works include a gateway sculpture at the entrance of Union Station, New Jersey; a kinetic sculpture at Penn Station, New York; a kinetic sculpture and clock at the Audubon Zoological Garden in New Orleans, Louisiana; and a kinetic sculpture titled First in Flight, celebrating the history of aviation at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, among many others.

In 1988, Greenamyer displayed another of his public sculptures, “Milwaukee,” at the Art Complex Museum prior to its installation at the University of Milwaukee in Wisconsin.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1939, Greenamyer earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Kansas. He taught at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, until 2004, when he became Professor Emeritus.

In Massachusetts, Greenamyer’s work is featured in the permanent collection at the Fuller Craft Museum, in Brockton, and the De Cordova Museum in Lincoln. The artist’s outdoor sculpture can be seen on the grounds of the Ventress Library in Marshfield, at the East Cambridge Parking Facility, at the North Shore Community College in Lynn, in Roslindale Center in Boston, and along the rails at the MBTA Back Bay station in Boston.

Five Shaker Houses, 1979, painted steel
83 x 24 x 246 in.

Greenamyer at work.

Greenamyer at the Art Complex Musuem, with his sculpture, “Milwaukee,” 1988.