robert creeley

robert creeley

John Chamberlain

1mo ago
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John Angus Chamberlain (April 16, 1927 -- December 21, 2011) was an American sculptor. At the time of his death he resided and worked on Shelter Island, New York. Born in Rochester, Indiana as the son of a saloonkeeper, Chamberlain was raised mostly by his grandmother after his parents divorced. He spent much of his youth in Chicago. After serving in the U.S Navy from 1943 to 1946, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1951--52) and Black Mountain College (1955--56). At Black Mountain, he studied with the poets Charles Olsen, Robert Creeley, and Robert Duncan, who were teaching there that semester. The following year, he moved to New York, where for the first time he created sculpture that included scrap-metal auto parts. Over the course of his prolific career, he had studios in New York, New Mexico, Florida, Connecticut, and finally Shelter Island. Chamberlain is best known for creating sculptures from old automobiles (or parts of) that bring the Abstract Expressionist style of painting into three dimensions. He began by carving and modelling, but turned to working in metal in 1952 and welding 1953. By 1957, while staying with the painter Larry Rivers in Southampton, New York, he began to include scrap metal from cars with his sculpture Shortstop, and from 1959 onward he concentrated on sculpture built entirely of crushed automobile parts welded together. By the end of the 1960s, Chamberlain had replaced his signature materials initially with galvanized steel, then with mineral-coated Plexiglas, and finally with aluminium foil. In 1966, he began a series of sculptures made of rolled, folded, and tied urethane foam. Since returning in the mid-1970s to metal as his primary material, Chamberlain has limited himself to specific parts of the automobile (fenders, bumpers, or the chassis, for example). In 1973, two 300-pound metal pieces by Chamberlain were mistaken for junk and carted away as they sat outside a gallery warehouse in Chicago. Chamberlain moved to Sarasota, Florida, where a 18,000-square-foot warehouse studio on Cocoanut Avenue enabled him to work on a much grander scale than he previously had. Many of the subsequent works Chamberlain made in Florida revert to more volumetric, compact configurations, often aligned on a vertical axis. As seen in the so-called Giraffe series (circa 1982--83), for example, linear patterns cavort over multicoloured surfaces—the results of sandblasting the metal, removing the paint, and exposing the raw surface beneath. In 1984, Chamberlain created the monumental American Tableau created for display on the Seagram Building's plaza. Chamberlain also made abstract colour paintings from 1963, and from 1967 he made several films, such as "Wide Point" (1968) and "The Secret Life of Hernando Cortez," filmed in Mexico with Warhol regulars Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet. In the last decade of his life, the artist expanded his work to large-format photographs. Chamberlain's first major solo show was held at the Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, in 1960. His singular method of putting discarded automobile-body parts together led to his inclusion in the paradigmatic exhibition "The Art of Assemblage", at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961, where his work was shown alongside modern masters such as Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. In 1962 Donald Judd wrote, "The only reason Chamberlain is not the best American sculptor under forty is the incommensurability of 'the best' which makes it arbitrary to say so." Speaking about the "meaning" of his work he has said "Even if I knew, I could only know what I thought it meant." In allusion to how he worked he has said "When a sculpture is nearly done, you can put things on and you take them off and it doesn't make any difference..." And, "Stopping is the key; you have to know when to stop. If I feel so glad that a sculpture is here, and I don't care who did it, then I figure it's a good piece." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ch...