Thursday, January 5, 2012

John Chamberlain "Rayvredd"

"Automobiles are a loaded subject, especially in the decades following World War II in the United States, which has led some observers to ascribe specific social meanings to Chamberlain's art. The crushed automobiles have been connected to the violent death of Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, who wrapped his car around a tree in 1956, and then to the slightly later, 1960s car-crash paintings of Pop artist Andy Warhol. Chamberlain was skeptical. Of his choice of automobile sheet metal, the artist once said, "Michelangelo had a lot of marble in his backyard, so to speak; I had a lot of this stuff."

Using a common material is best for sculpture, he added, because it "doesn't get in the way of doing an uncommon thing."

Painted sheet metal was not the only material Chamberlain employed. A large 1986 retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles included sculptures made from Plexiglas, paper, foam rubber and aluminum foil, as well as collages, drawings and paintings.

Chamberlain spent considerable time in Los Angeles, especially in the late 1960s and early 1970s, where several of the foam-rubber sculptures were made. In the 1980s, he moved his studio to Sarasota, Fla., and most recently he was working in Shelter Island, N.Y. His sculpture is in the permanent collections of many museums internationally, including MOCA; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas; New York's Museum of Modern Art; and Tate Modern in London."

John Chamberlain dies at 84; American sculptor, December 23, 2011|
By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic

John Chamberlain (1927 - 2011), "Rayvredd," 1962

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