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Glen Seator, 46; Sculpted Replicas

January 02, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Glen Seator, a sculptor who grappled with questions of reality vs. illusion in full-scale architectural replicas, died Dec. 21 at his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 46.

Seator died in a fall while working on the chimney of his three-story house.

A native of Beardstown, Ill., Seator earned a bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1984 and a master's degree in 1989 from the State University of New York at Purchase.

He was best known for installations that reproduced, in painstaking detail, mundane spaces such as the inside of an office or the facade of a check-cashing business.

One of his most provocative works was shown at the 1997 Whitney Biennial. Titled "B.D.O.," it was a life-size reconstruction of the interior of the Whitney Museum director's office, which Seator built inside a large wooden box and installed at a 45-degree angle to jog the senses.

In 1999, he reproduced the front of a Banco Popular Check-Cashing Outlet in Echo Park for an exhibit that took up a third of the facade of the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. The sculpture had a functioning entrance that led into a replica of the store's interior. Neighbors complained that it was an eyesore and violated building codes.

Seator's devotion to realism was also evident in a 1997 installation at Capp Street Project in San Francisco in which he duplicated the gallery's exterior facade, along with a large stretch of the street that faced it. The project used 115 tons of compacted gravel, 30 tons of asphalt, 15 cubic yards of concrete and 100 tons of sand. Seator even tracked down the tagger who marked a telephone pole outside the gallery to copy his work on the fake pole in the exhibit.

Seator, whose works were also exhibited in London, Warsaw and Vienna, was a scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in 2000 and 2001.

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