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LA-Based Artist Michael Kaliff Brings License Plate Pinwheels to Pratt

By Janet Upadhye | June 3, 2013 8:56am
 Artist Michael Kaliff's license plate pinwheels are on display at Pratt.
License Plate Pinwheels at Pratt
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CLINTON HILL — Michael Kalish's large-scale pinwheels made of discarded license plates, first unveiled in Manhattan in 2011, have since traveled to Texas, Florida and California.

And now they are back in New York and will be displayed in Pratt Institute's Sculpture Park for one year.

Selected by park curator David Weinrib, Kalish's pinwheels aren't just interesting to look out, they also raise awareness about a disease that affects more people each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined, according to DRIVE4COPD.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, DRIVE4COPD asserts. Artist Kalish is trying to get the word out.

"I travel the country collecting materials for my work and many of the people I see on a daily basis are affected by COPD or are at risk for the disease," said Kalish, who is based in Los Angeles and uses discarded everyday items like car tires and recycled license plates to create his works of art, in a statement. "COPD affects people from all walks of life and this is my opportunity to give them a voice."

"24M" is Kalish's contribution to this public health movement.

The installation is made of 24 giant pinwheels and 2400 license plates that Kalish spent seven months collecting. The bases are made of stainless steel and weigh 30,000-lbs. Each base has a laser cutout in the shape of a state. The entire installation covers half a football field and took one year and 24 people to create.

The pinwheels can be seen from the corner of Hall Street and Willoughby Avenue in Clinton Hill.

There are about 50 sculptures currently on display on the Pratt campus.