Don Porcaro

Talisman installation at the Visual Art Center of New Jersey, Summit, 2016; marble slate, limestone, and brass 

Porcaro: The Rightness of Stone


Both my paternal and maternal grandparents came to the States at the turn of the century from Southern Italy to find a better life. One of my earliest memories is of visiting my mother’s uncle and his brother who, after they came here, opened a stone yard in Connecticut. Seeing all the stones, mostly monuments and gravestones, stacked up made a deep impression on me.


This impression didn’t find its outlet, however, until many years later when I took a sculpture class in college. I can say that from the first time I cut a piece of stone, I knew that it felt right. It fed a driving need to work with a material that speaks to tradition, and I knew that that tradition belonged to my culture. I have visited Italy many times and have gone to the quarries and stone yards all over the country. I work with marble and stone from around the world. but the marble I like to work with the most comes from Carrara because of its fine granular structure and its ability to hold a defined edge. It’s easy to understand why great carvers like Michelangelo chose to work with Carrara marble.


But I am not a stone carver in the traditional sense. I am more aligned with Bernini as a builder and architect, one who constructs with stone. Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona in Rome has always been a source of inspiration, not only because of the way he stacked the stone to create mass and form, but the way he combined history with mythology, placing a 3000-year-old Egyptian obelisk on top of the figures of the four rivers. In my own way, I use the inherent characteristics of stone to express my interest in humanity’s imprint on nature, the passage of time, both geologic and historic, and the mythologies we ascribe to our monuments.


Talisman 18, 2019, marble and limestone, 66 x 20 x 20 inches

All of Us, 2017; limestone, granite, marble, and sandstone, 94 x 30 x 41 inches


Don Porcaro 

with an installation of his work at Bella Abzug Park, Hudson Yards, New York City