The history of sculpture in the modern era justifiably begins with French artist Auguste Rodin, who did more to change our understanding of the medium than any artist since Michelangelo. He brought a level of expressiveness to the figure that changed the very notion of three-dimensional representation. He is often cited for his ability to express internal experience and emotion through external features.
This exhibition begins with the monumental bronze seated figure, Cybele, ca. 1890, on loan from the private collection of Iris and B. Gerald Cantor. Another Rodin, the museum?s smaller important bronze, Glaucus, 1886-87, is also on display. Two other monumental works are featured in the main gallery: Henry Moore, Woman (Seated Torso or Parze), 1957-58, and Robert Therrien, No Title (stacked plates, butter), 2007. Moore?s monumental seated figure extends the expressive mode of Rodin into the high modern aesthetic of mid-century. And Therrien?s stack illustrates the movement into Minimalism and Pop art that characterizes post-modern sculpture.
Another giant of twentieth-century sculpture, Pablo Picasso, is featured in the main gallery near the entrance with mid-century pieces that suggest the artist?s command of materials and his aesthetic power. Pregnant Woman, 1950/59, on loan from the Nasher Sculpture Center, is an imposing figure that dramatically contrasts with the Rodin and Moore visions of the female figure. Picasso?s works, simultaneously figurative and abstract, reflect the currents of Expressionism dominant in the post-WWII period. His glazed ceramic white earthenware Owl (Hibou), 1951, demonstrates the artist?s interest in redefining craft.
Together, these works establish the historical trajectory of the exhibition and suggest the wide range of possibilities that were opened up to sculpture in the twentieth century. The spoke galleries feature smaller-scaled works by many of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Several are devoted to Expressive Modernism, featuring works by Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Marino Marini, Alberto Giacometti, Jacques Lipchitz, Gerhard Marcks, and Henry Moore. Other spoke galleries will represent Organic and Geometric Abstraction with works by Jean Hans Arp, Alexander Calder, Richard Stankiewicz, Joel Shapiro, and Leon Polk Smith. Later twentieth-century sculptures by Antony Gormley, Gunther Uecker, Donald Judd, and Anthony Caro demonstrate Minimalist Experiments in sculpture. The corner gallery references artists whose interests in light and transparency led them to work in resin and glass, such as Frederick Eversley, Daniel Clayman, and Jim Hodges.
The exhibition also offers a glimpse into the expanding role of sculpture within post-modern practice, with works by Claes Oldenburg, Cal Lane, Richard Artschwager, Lynda Benglis, Bob Van Breda, and Bettina Pousttchi. The Pousttchi, in particular, offers another monumental work that engages with its forerunners in the history of sculpture, linking Russian Constructivism, Minimalism, Light and Space. Finally, the Media/Photography gallery demonstrates how new media artists have engaged with three-dimensionality through innovative strategies in works by Tracey Emin, Peter Sarkisian, and Jennifer Steinkamp.
This exhibition was organized by Palm Springs Art Museum.