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Pasadena\, CA—The Norton Simon Museum presents “Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture\,” an exhibition that examines how the great sculpto rs of the 20th century\, both directly and indirectly\, were influenced by Constantin Brancusi and his groundbreaking use of space and material. Featu ring 19 works from the Museum’s renowned collection of post-war art\, by sc ulptors as diverse as Henry Moore\, Isamu Noguchi\, Barbara Hepworth\, Dona ld Judd\, Carl Andre\, John McCracken and Robert Irwin\, the exhibition dem onstrates how sculpture moved from being a self-contained\, three-dimension al object to one that engages with its surrounding space. In a variety of w ays and in a variety of materials\, including marble\, wood\, stainless ste el\, felt or Plexiglas\, the sculptures on view illustrate some of the most innovative moments in art making in the latter half of the 20th century. T he exhibition is on view from April 26\, 2013\, through Jan. 6\, 2014\, in the Museum’s temporary exhibition gallery.

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Romanian-born and Paris-based\, Brancusi was arguably the most influential sculptor of t he 20th century. His artistic inquiries into abstraction and representation \, into mass and space\, into craft and materials\, serve as the foundation on which later artists dealt with these transformative issues. Indeed\, Br ancusi set up an important dichotomy when he embraced an intense understand ing of his materials and worked them to a high degree of finish\, always by hand\, as in his masterpiece Bird in Space from 1931\, on view in t he Museum’s 20th-century gallery. But most significantly\, Brancusi was the first artist to approach sculpture as a work integral to its environment. “I don’t care what they reflect\,” the artist once mused of his artworks\, “as long as it is life itself.” “Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture” p resents signature works from the Norton Simon collections that exhibit thes e creative breakthroughs. While the featured works were made over a 30-year span\, in several different countries and using a variety of materials\, e ach can be seen as drawing on Brancusi’s revolutionary relationship to spac e.

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The exhibition begins with the works of renowned arti sts Henry Moore (English\, 1898–1986)\, Isamu Noguchi (American\, 1904–1988 ) and Barbara Hepworth (English\, 1903–1975)\, among others. Just a generat ion younger than Brancusi\, these artists introduced space into thei r compositions by using holes or assembling elements around negative space. For example\, supple curves reveal a dramatic cavity in Moore’s Reclini ng Form from 1966\, demonstrating the artist’s concerns in balancing th e physical permanence of the material with the buoyancy deliberately create d by the space below and within it. Hepworth’s Duo and Two Forms (Green and Green)\, both from 1973\, display the artist’s significant i nterest in piercing holes into her forms. These material absences literally and metaphorically open each mass\, where the work becomes about both the object and the opening\, with neither assuming a hegemonic role over the ot her. The graceful marble lattice that defines Noguchi’s The White Gunas from 1946 makes the space between the carved forms as important as the stone itself. Further\, the triangular placement of the three main vertical s denies a front or back\, requiring the viewer to move around the work and thus redefine it from differing viewpoints.

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The exhibit ion continues with works made of non-traditional materials—often industrial — such as metal\, felt\, Plexiglas and coated glass. Donald Judd (American\ , 1928–1994)\, Robert Morris (American\, b. 1931) and Carl Andre (American\ , b. 1935) all employed an aesthetic that removed their work from anything narrative or based in nature. And while they each had differing opinions as to the meaning of their sculpture\, they engaged space even more aggressiv ely than the previous generation. Judd’s Untitled from 1969 consists of 10 stainless-steel units\, coated in blue Plexiglas\, stacked verticall y onto a wall\, thus integrating space directly into the piece. The number of stacks varies depending on the height of the ceiling (this installation features 8 of 10)\, but the spaces between them remain consistent: they are the same distance apart as they are tall. Judd’s sculpture presents a visu al paradox—light and open on the one hand\, durable and inaccessible on the other. In Morris’s Untitled\, also from 1969\, five regular horizon tal slits\, cut into a large swath of industrial felt\, allow the work to c ascade rhythmically to the floor. Over time\, the gaps between the felt gro w\, changing the appearance of the object and the indication of space aroun d it. Wanting his materials to be straightforward and unmitigated\, Morris nevertheless was able to transform a raw manufactured product into an objec t of grace and beauty.

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The exhibition concludes with a g rouping of works by Southern California artists who introduced experimental materials and expanded the relationship between sculptural object and spac e even further. Robert Irwin (American\, b. 1928)\, DeWain Valentine (Ameri can\, b. 1936)\, Craig Kauffman (American\, 1932–2010) and Helen Pashgian ( American\, b. 1934) introduced light and its reflection into their work\, a s well as a perceptual aspect aimed at the viewer\, often fusing space and object. For example\, Irwin’s Untitled from 1969 plays with percepti on in such a way that the distinctions between solid and void—that is\, of form and space—are utterly blurred. In this piece\, a painted metal disc is mounted nearly two feet from the surface of the wall\, and yet it disappea rs into it\; the form has become visually part of its surrounding space. Va lentine’s Large Wall from 1968 is a monument to the atmosphere of se a and sky. Its transparency and its scale also reflect the artist’s pursuit of sculpture that becomes “involved with both the inside space and the out side space or surface—where most sculpture visually stops.” Pashgian’s U ntitled from 1969 uses resin with a bent acrylic rod at its center to g ive the work greater dimension. While Brancusi’s finish was intended to ref lect the surrounding world\, Pashgian’s aim was to consider the interior of the work: in the light it absorbed\, in the space it created and in the na ture of its purity.

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“Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture” is organiz ed by Associate Curator Leah Lehmbeck. A series of related programs will be presented. Dan Flavin’s 1966 sculpture “monument” on the survival of Mr s. Reppin is on view at the Museum from March 8 through Aug. 19\, 2013. More information can be found at www.nortonsimon.org.

DTEND:20140106 DTSTAMP:20141222T205351 DTSTART:20130426 GEO:34.1458399;-118.1583898 LOCATION:Norton Simon Museum\,411 W. Colorado Blvd \nPasadena\, CA 91105-18 25 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture\, Carl Andre\, Larry Bell\, Guy Dill\, Barbara Hepworth\, Robert Irwin\, Donald Judd\, Craig Kauffman\ , Gabriel Kohn\, Craig Krauffman\, Charles Mattox\, John McCracken\, Henry Moore\, Robert Morris\, Louis Nevelson\, Isamu Noguchi\, Helen Pashgian\, D eWain Valentine UID:264450 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20130426T210000 DTSTAMP:20141222T205351 DTSTART:20130426T120000 GEO:34.1458399;-118.1583898 LOCATION:Norton Simon Museum\,411 W. Colorado Blvd \nPasadena\, CA 91105-18 25 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture\, Carl Andre\, Larry Bell\, Guy Dill\, Barbara Hepworth\, Robert Irwin\, Donald Judd\, Gabriel Kohn\, Craig Krauffman\, Charles Mattox\, John McCracken\, Henry Moore\, Robert Mo rris\, Louis Nevelson\, Isamu Noguchi\, Helen Pashgian\, DeWain Valentine UID:264451 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR