Magazine article Sculpture

John Chamberlain

Magazine article Sculpture

John Chamberlain

Article excerpt

NEW YORK

John Chamberlain

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Freestanding sculptures and wall pieces by John Chamberlain filled the Guggenheim Museum's four floors last spring, offering viewers a posthumous survey of the artist's crumpled steel and crushed metal sculptures from the past 40 years. His unique approach to sculpture began in 1957, when he took material from an antique car belonging to Larry Rivers and drove over it, as he told Julie Sylvester in a 1991 interview published in a Pace Gallery catalogue. Chamberlain then began selecting pieces from junkyards and body shops and subjecting them to a variety of tools, including a slicer, a steel-cutting chisel, and an acetylene torch. Credited with translating Abstract Expressionism into three dimensions, Chamberlain was often discussed in relation to de Kooning, his sculptural process compared to gestural painting. The originality of Chamberlain's use of color, however, is demonstrated by a black, brown, and chrome pedestal sculpture made in 1963 and later titled Marilyn. A pastel-colored companion piece, Miss Lucy Pink, looks forward in its construction to later, denser constructions.

Despite the importance of color, from the early pastels (drawn from typical auto paint of the day) through the darker and more somber tones of the later work, "fit" was at the core of Chamberlain's method and aesthetic. …

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