Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER TWO
 

TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
 

SCULPTURE BEFORE WORLD WAR I
SCULPTURE BETWEEN THE WARS - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
SCULPTURE SINCE 1945 - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
 
 


SCULPTURE

 


SCULPTURE SINCE 1945

 

Earth Art

Because of its space-articulating function we might be tempted to call the Vietnam Veterans Memorial a work of architecture, like Stonehenge; yet it is so sculptural that it belongs equally well to Primary Structures. The two categories merge in "Earth Art," which is the ultimate medium for Environmental Sculpture, since it provides complete freedom from the limitations of the human scale. Logically enough, some designers of Primary Structures have turned to it, inventing projects that stretch over many miles. These latter-day successors to the mound-building Indians of Neolithic times have the advantage of modem earth-moving machinery, but this is more than outweighed by the problem of cost and the difficulty of finding suitable sites on our crowded planet.




Robert Smithson


The few projects of theirs that have actually been carried out are mostly found in remote regions of western America, so that the finding is itself often difficult enough. Spiral Jetty, the work of Robert Smithson
(1938-1973), jutted out into Great Salt Lake in Utah (fig. 1156) and is now partly submerged. Its appeal rests in part on the Surrealist irony of the concept: a spiral jetty is as self-contradictory as a straight corkscrew. But it can hardly be said to have grown out of the natural formation of the terrain like the Great Serpent Mound. No wonder it has not endured long, nor was it intended to. The process by which nature is reclaiming Spiral Jetty, already twice submerged, was integral to Smithson s design from the start. The project nevertheless lives on in photographs.



1156. Robert Smithson.
Spiral Jetty.
As built in 1970. Total length 457.2 m: width of jetty 4.6 m. Great Salt Lake, Utah

 

 


Robert Smithson

Robert Smithson, (born Jan. 2, 1938, Passaic, N.J., U.S.—died July 20, 1973, Amarillo, Texas), American sculptor and writer associated with the Land Art movement. His large-scale sculptures, called Earthworks, engaged directly with nature and were created by moving and constructing with vast amounts of soil and rocks.

Smithson preferred to work with ruined or exhausted sites in nature. Using the earth as his palette, he created archetypal forms: spirals, circles, and mounds. Although, like other land artists of the late 1960s and early ’70s—including Walter De Maria, Nancy Holt, Michael Heizer, and Carl Andre—Smithson chose to make his major work outside what he and his colleagues considered a compromised gallery system, he nevertheless also created smaller objects, which he called “nonsites,” for museum and gallery settings. These nonsite pieces employed topographic maps of an area juxtaposed with minimalist displays of materials taken from the actual sites as a form of pseudoarchaeological evidence that made reference to the “real” outdoor work. He also documented his work extensively with photographs and film.

Smithson was largely self-taught. He earned a two-year scholarship to the Art Students League in New York City, and he studied briefly at the Brooklyn Museum School in 1956. His initial artwork was in the form of painting in the manner of the Abstract Expressionists. After a trip to Rome in 1961, he brought mythological and religious subjects into this work. After marrying the American sculptor Nancy Holt in 1963, he started making painted metal sculptures. As he did so, he began to question the role of the autonomous object in the museum context. He proceeded to make a number of minimalist sculptures, using industrial materials such as glass and mirrors. As he became increasingly preoccupied with the context for works of art, he began to work outside in natural sites ruined by industrial waste or mining. In 1971, for one of a growing number of outdoor projects, he took a 20-year lease on 10 acres (4 hectares) of lakefront land at the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and, using hired contractors, he made a huge spiral extending 1,500 feet (460 metres) into the lake. This work, titled Spiral Jetty, can still be seen periodically, depending on the water level.

In this and all of his other Earthworks, Smithson was interested in evoking geologic time through scale and the use of ancient rocks and dirt. He investigated many prehistoric sites, such as Stonehenge in England, and felt that his work was directly associated with such locations. Smithson was also interested in concepts of entropy—how energy gets dispersed in nature from the orderly to the disorderly over time—and he saw that as a metaphor for a philosophical orientation to life. He was a highly romantic artist whose most sublime and spiritual thoughts appear in his numerous writings, collected in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (1996), edited by Jack Flam. Smithson died in a plane crash at age 35 while inspecting a site in West Texas for an Earthwork to be titled Amarillo Ramp. This piece was finished posthumously (1973) by Holt, Tony Shafrazi, and Richard Serra.

Lisa S. Wainwright

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 

 


Robert Smithson. Spiral Jetty, 1970

 


Robert Smithson. BROKEN CIRCLE

 


Robert Smithson. AMARILLO RAMP

 


Robert Smithson. SPIRAL HILL

 


Robert Smithson. GLUE POUR

 


Robert Smithson. PLUNGE

 


Robert Smithson. TERMINAL

 


Robert Smithson. GRAVEL MIRRORS WITH
CRACKS AND DUST

 


Robert Smithson.
RED SANDSTONE CORNER PIECE

 


Robert Smithson. PIERCED SPIRAL

 


Robert Smithson.
YUCATAN MIRROR DISPLACEMENTS

 


Robert Smithson.
MIRROR DISPLACEMENT ON COMPOST HEAP

 


Robert Smithson.
HYPOTHETICAL CONTINENT OF
GONDWANALAND-ICE CAP

 


Robert Smithson.
HYPOTHETICAL CONTINENT IN STONE: CATHAYSIA





Christo.

By way of contrast, the projects of Christo (Christo Javacheff, born
1935), who first gained notoriety for wrapping things, are deliberately short-lived. They enhance the environment only temporarily instead of altering it permanently. Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Miami, his most satisfying project to date, was installed for all of two weeks in the spring of 1983. Part Conceptual Art, part Happening, this ambitious repackaging of nature was a public event involving a small army of assistants. While the emphasis was on the campaign itself, the outcome was a triumph of epic fantasy.

Photographs hardly do justice to the results. Our collage of Christo's drawings, an aesthetic object in its own right, gives a clearer picture of the artist's intention by presenting the project in different ways and conveying the complexity of the experience it provided (fig. 1157). (Drawings such as this helped to fund the project.) In effect, Christo turned the islands into inverse lily pads of pink fabric. If Smithson's Spiral Jetty suggests the futility of grandiose undertakings, Christo's visual pun is as festive and decorative as Monet's water-lily paintings (fig. 958), an inspiration the artist has acknowledged.
 


1157. Christo. Surrounded Islands, Project for Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida. 1982.
Drawing in two parts, 38 x 244 cm and 106.6 x 244 cm.
Pencil, charcoal, pastel, crayon, enamel paint, aerial photograph, and fabric sample.
Private collection.

 

 



Christo

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, respectively, in full Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude de Guillebon (respectively, born June 13, 1935, Gabrovo, Bulg. born June 13, 1935, Casablanca, Mor.—died Nov. 18, 2009, New York City, N.Y., U.S.), environmental sculptors, noted for their controversial outdoor sculptures and monumental displays of fabrics and plastics.

Christo attended the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Bulg., and had begun working with the Burian Theatre in Prague when the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 broke out. He fled to Vienna, where he studied for a semester, and then, after a brief stay in Switzerland, moved to Paris and began exhibiting his works with the nouveaux réalistes. While working there as a portrait artist, Christo met Jeanne-Claude de Guillebon, whom he married in 1959. Jeanne-Claude was once described as her husband’s publicist and business manager, but she later received equal billing with him in all creative and administrative aspects of their work. In 1964 the pair relocated to New York City, where their art was seen as a form of Arte Povera.

Christo’s earliest sculptures were composed of cans and bottles—some as found and some painted or wrapped in paper, plastic, or fabric. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s first collaborative works included Dockside Packages (1961; Cologne), Iron Curtain—Wall of Oil Drums (1962; Paris), and Corridor Store Front (1968; New York City). In 1968 they also completed a suspended 18,375-foot (5,600-metre) “air package” over Minneapolis, Minn., and “wrapped buildings” in Bern, Switz.; Chicago, Ill.; and Spoleto, Italy. Their monumental later projects included Valley Curtain (1972; Rifle Gap, Colo.), Running Fence (1976; Marin and Sonoma counties, Calif.), and Surrounded Islands (1983; Biscayne Bay, Fla.). In 1985 in Paris, they wrapped the Pont Neuf (bridge) in beige cloth. In a 1991 project, the couple installed 1,340 giant blue umbrellas across the Sato River valley in Japan and 1,760 giant yellow ones in Tejon Pass, California. Four years later they wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin in metallic silver fabric. The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979–2005 was unveiled in 2005. Stretching across 23 miles (37 km) of walkway in Central Park, the work featured 7,503 steel gates that were 16 feet (5 metres) high and decorated with saffron-coloured cloth panels. The Gates was on display for 16 days and attracted more than four million visitors.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s huge, usually outdoor sculptures are temporary and involve hundreds of assistants in their construction. Seen as they are by all manner of passersby, including those who would not necessarily visit museums, these works force observers to confront questions regarding the nature of art. As the scope of the projects widened, increased time was needed for planning and construction phases, the securing of permits, and environmental- impact research. For each project, they formed a corporation, which secured financing and sold the primary models and sketches. Most installations were documented in print and on film, and the materials that created them were sold or given away after the projects were dismantled.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 

 


Christo. Wrapped Painting

 

Christo. Bicyclette empaquetée sur galerie de voiture

 


Christo. Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971

 


Christo. The wrapped Reichstag

 


Christo. Air Package.
Project for the Garden of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, 1968

 


Christo.
The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York City

 


Christo.
The Pont Neuf Wrapped - Project for Paris I

 


Christo.
Wrapped Reichstag, Project for Berlin

 


Christo.
Over the River from Underneath

 


Christo.
The Blue Umbrellas, 1991

 


Christo.
The Gates, Photo No. 26

 


Christo.
Wrapped Coast, 1968-1969

 


Christo. Wrapped Trees XIV

 


Christo.
Over the River, Project for Colorado, From Above

 


Christo. Corridor Store Front Project

 


Christo.
The Wall, Gasometer, Oberhausen, 1999, No. 3

 
 

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