Friday, August 1, 2008

Monochrome Sculpture, Contained

Louise Nevelson (American, born Russia), 1900-1988,
Sky Cathedral, 1958 wood, painted black, 115 x 135 x 20"
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, NY

An interesting bit of information, Artist Foundation websites are not very useful. I am only basing this on looking at two so far and I don't know what I was expecting to find on them, but there isn't much, just an fyi.

Now on to Ms. Louise Nevelson. A grand dame of a person and a pretty fascinating art creator to boot. This work is at my home museum, as I grew up with the Albright Knox Art Gallery, heading back at least once a year on visits home if I can. There is also a Nevelson in the same vein as this one at my new home museum, The TMA (Toledo Museum of Art) which is what prompted me to share a Nevelson here. A quick trot through the galleries running an errand during work the other day alerted me again to its presence. Sculpture is difficult to look at when you lose dimensions but one of the interesting things about Nevelson is that her work, while multidimensional within the containment of the boxes, it does not command a space like a work created to be seen in the round. It fu
nctions more like a dense multi-layered collage Nevelson started out creating the individual boxes and when she ran out of room in her studio she began stacking them and her work moved to another level.

My art thoughts are squishy today but I thought I would share one of the many awesome resources there are for studying art (and well anything for that matter). The Papers of Louise Nevelson are at the Smithsonian. Can't make it down to D.C.? No problem, the collection is digitized at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. I can't tell you how great it is to actually sift through original documents if you can do it but the increase in accessibility of primary sources is a joy for research and education.

I am fascinated by the use of boxes and containment in art and I am thinking that there might be a themed week of some related works coming along soon.
Portrait of Louise Nevelson ca. 1955