George Segal was born to Jewish immigrant parents who had a butcher shop in the Bronx, New York. He was studying art while making a living as a schoolteacher and a chicken farmer. Around 1960, he began to exhibit as part of a group of artists closely identified with Pop Art, including Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Segal developed an unusual method for sculpting in plaster, covering family and friends in medical gauze bandages before assembling all the pieces into a final cast. He placed these sculptures into everyday situations, such as drinking a coffee, reading a book, or traveling on the bus. His iconic white sculptures can now be found in museums around the world.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park organized exhibitions of his work in 2004 and most recently in 2020. In 2017, we received a major gift from the George and Helen Segal Foundation and the daughter, Rena Segal, that included the sculpture Circus Acrobats. With the opening of the Welcome Center, we are able to show Circus Acrobats for the first time. Very fittingly, the sculpture is installed high up suspended from the ceiling, allowing the viewer to imagine two acrobats in a circus.