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New York

Marlborough Gallery New York

Exhibition Detail
Constructivists
40 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019


April 28th, 2011 - June 4th, 2011
 
Forest Devil, Kenneth SnelsonKenneth Snelson, Forest Devil,
1975 , stainless steel , 34 1/2 x 68 x 51 inches
© Courtesy of the artist & Marlborough Gallery New York
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The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce
that an exhibition of works by George Rickey and Kenneth Snelson
will open at Marlborough Gallery on April 28 and continue
through May 28, 2011. George Rickey and Kenneth Snelson
are internationally regarded as among the most inventive and
influential sculptors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The
exhibition will include eleven important sculptures by each artist,
ranging in size from tabletop pieces to garden-scale works.
Constructivists: George Rickey and Kenneth Snelson brings together
the work of two artists who developed new and historically unique
sculptural mediums independent of prevailing artistic movements.
Although the artists did not meet until they were both well
established, their work shares significant similarities. As Philip
Rickey, George Rickey’s son, has said regarding the artists’ common
interests: “My father’s and Ken’s artistic roots were grounded in the
revolutionary ideas of the Russian constructivists and the Dutch De
Stijl, and as such were not aligned or allied with the prevailing art
in the United States of the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism. During
the 1960s and ‘70s they continued to follow their own interests
and not the main artistic currents of the American art world: pop
and minimalism. I think this partly was because they each were
investigating unique aspects of physical phenomena – Ken, the
nature of structure, and my father, the nature of movement.”
Rickey’s iconic kinetic works, consisting of simple geometric
shapes such as rectangles, trapezoids, cubes, and lines fabricated
principally from sheets of stainless steel, explore light, line and
shadow as affected by the changing air currents, wind and
other natural phenomena. He creates a body of work that is a
mesmerizing combination of simplicity and movement. As art critic
Alexandra Anderson-Spivy comments, “…these fluid geometric
constructions are born to move and they partner best with natural
forces. Rickey often declared that he aimed ‘to make things [that
are] as contemporary as the weather report,’ And gentle winds and
changing weather usually are his sculptures’ greatest friends.” This
exhibition will feature two of his rare polychrome works, Harlequin,
1958, and Column of Six Cubes with Gimbal, 1995-96.
George Rickey’s works can be found in major museums throughout
the world, including: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles,
CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Hara
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; The High Museum
of American Art, Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles County Museum of
Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
York, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX; The Museum
of Modern Art, New York, NY; The National Gallery, Edinburgh,
Scotland; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; New
Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Ruckversicherungs-
Gesellschaft, Munich, Germany; Tate Gallery, London, England
and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
Kenneth Snelson, in pursuing complex structures as a sculptural
medium, invented a wholly new light-weight tension / compression
structural system known as “tensegrity,” a word created by
combining the words tension and integrity. This structural system
is illustrated by Snelson’s now iconic sculptures consisting of
stainless steel or aluminum cylinders held in place by taut stainless
steel tension cables. The tube-like cylinders are arranged in space,
seemingly weightless and floating as if they have been flung into a
gravity-free environment. The art critic Richard Huntington said,
“In Snelson’s hands tensegrity ... gives his sculpture a characteristic
look that reflects both scientific pragmatism and high art
refinement... Snelson’s particular method and material choice has
spawned a sustained and wondrous dialogue between the nature
of physics and the nature of vision. How a sculpture appears to the
eye and how it manages to stand up are inextricably mixed.” The
seemingly gravity-defying effect of tensegrity is clearly seen in Forest
Devil, 1975, as the tubes elegantly rise off the floor and float in
midair.
Snelson’s work can be found in public and corporate collections all
over the world, including: The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Dallas
Museum of Fine Art, TX; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture
Garden, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY;
Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo, Holland; Rijksmuseum
Staedelijk, Amsterdam, Holland; Shiga Museum of Modern Art,
Japan; Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; Walker Art Center,
Minneapolis, MN and The Whitney Museum of American Art,
New York.
An illustrated catalogue will be available at the time of the
exhibition.


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