A Loss of Permanence: Monumentality in the 21st Century

Presenting a paper recently on the monumental sculptural projects of Alexander Calder, David Smith, and Robert Smithson in Italy, as a part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s wonderful symposium The Course of Empires: American-Italian Cultural Relations, 1770-1980, (my presentation and the entire proceedings are viewable here, if you are so inclined), I drew upon two quotes from the mid-twentieth century on the topic of monumentality: … Continue reading A Loss of Permanence: Monumentality in the 21st Century

Public Sculpture is Having a Moment in the Midwest

On August 8, my beloved, complex, imperfect city of Chicago did the civic/art version of an historical battlefield reenactment…sort of. The event marked the fiftieth anniversary of the public unveiling on August 15, 1967 of Picasso’s untitled metal behemoth, now known simply as “The Picasso” (see Google Maps) or in its updated 2017 social media parlance, #EveryonesPicasso. So once again the mayor (Rahm Emanuel filling … Continue reading Public Sculpture is Having a Moment in the Midwest

Image not Object: the 2017 Whitney Biennial

The 2017 Whitney Biennial closes in just over two weeks. Since its opening in March, the exhibition has been widely heralded for its “political charge” (see for example reviews by Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker and Jerry Saltz in New York Magazine), for its impressive diversity of artists included (though I wish this still was not so rare as to be newsworthy), and the … Continue reading Image not Object: the 2017 Whitney Biennial

Bertoia! Bertoia! Bertoia!

I am quite thrilled to say that I am now on research leave, which will last through the 2017-18 academic year. This means that I will not only finally have some time for new Sculptural Things blog posts, but also for two new and substantial projects, both focused on the amazing and all-too-undervalued American postwar artist/ sculptor/ designer Harry Bertoia (1915-1978). Bertoia has occupied a lot … Continue reading Bertoia! Bertoia! Bertoia!

Calder Lecture at the Wichita Art Museum

I am thrilled be giving the Fall 2016 Howard E. Wooden Lecture at the Wichita Art Museum, this Thursday, November 17. If you are in the greater Wichita area please join us. Alexander Calder, Large-Scale Sculpture, and the Public Sphere In the 1970s, Wichita put itself firmly on the map of the art world when it commissioned Joan Miró and Alexander Calder–two living artists at the height … Continue reading Calder Lecture at the Wichita Art Museum