Louise Nevelson

13 Feb - 14 Mar 2009

© Louise Nevelson
Mirror-Shadow VII, 1985
wood painted black
9' 9" x 11' 7" x 1' 9"
"Dawns and Dusks"

February 13, 2009 — March 14, 2009
PW 25

PaceWildenstein presents a selection of works from four decades by Louise Nevelson

NEW YORK, February 4, 2009—PaceWildenstein is pleased to present a selection of works from four decades by Louise Nevelson. Nevelson’s formalist achievement is revealed in more than thirty works from the 1950s through the 1980s. The exhibition includes large-scale painted black monochrome wood wall reliefs and free-standing sculptures ranging in size up to nearly 10 feet by 12 feet, and mixed-media collages on paper and board, which incorporate materials such as wood, paper, newsprint, paint, vinyl, metal, and other found objects. Louise Nevelson: Dawns and Dusks will be on view at PaceWildenstein, 534 West 25th Street from February 13 through March 14, 2009. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 12th from 6-8 pm.
“I always wanted to show the world that art is everywhere,” Louise Nevelson insisted, “except it has to pass through a creative mind.” Nevelson, who pioneered installation art in America with her assemblage environments of the 1950s, collected detritus lying on the street—scraps of wood, refuse from factories—discarded pieces of history shaped and chiseled by the passage of time, and resurrected it. The artist often stripped these disparate, latent objects of their identities by painting them in black, white, or gold monochromes, breathing new life into them and transforming them into art. In 1957, Nevelson began working with crates and boxes, both placing existing sculptures and creating reliefs inside of them. Stacking the boxes atop of one another enabled Nevelson to change the relationships between the individual units as she shifted them in space, creating new environments from the shadows of the past.
Nevelson’s Post-Cubist “painting[s] in space,” inspired by Picasso’s early guitar constructions, crossed the barriers between drawing, sculpture, painting, and architecture. From her monumental environments to the structural arrangements of her collages, Nevelson worked in the space between solid form and illusion, the space between painting and sculpture. “[T]he work that I do is not the matter and it isn’t the color,” Nevelson once said, “It adds up to the in-between place, between the material I use and the manifestation afterwards; the dawns and the dusks, the places between the land and the sea. The place of in-between means that all of this that I use—and you can put a label on it like ‘black’—is something I’m using to say something else.”
In 2007, The Jewish Museum, New York mounted a major retrospective of Nevelson’s work. The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson, on view from May 5 through September 16, included self-portraits from the 1940s through the 1960s, rarely displayed examples of the artist's works on paper dating from the 1920s to the 1980s, and two monumental, room-sized installations: Dawn's Wedding Feast (1959) and Mrs. N's Palace (1964-77). The exhibition also included a video which examined Nevelson's public art projects within the context of her oeuvre as well as her influence on contemporary artists. The sixty-six works in the exhibition were drawn from international private and public collections. The show travelled to the de Young Museum, San Francisco from October 27, 2007–January 13, 2008.
Nevelson represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1962, where she would also exhibit work in 1976. Other significant group shows have included the Pittsburgh International Exhibition at the Carnegie Institute (1958, 1961, 1964, 1970); Expo ‘70 in Osaka, Japan; Documenta III and IV, Kassel (1964, 1968); the 1973 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Spoleto Festival (1982, 1983).
Louise Nevelson (1899–1988) was born Louise Berliawsky in Kiev, Russia and immigrated to Rockland, Maine at the age of six. Following her marriage in 1920, Nevelson moved to New York City where she later studied at the Art Students League (1929-30) with Kenneth Hayes Miller and Hans Hoffman (whom she also briefly studied with in Munich in 1932). Nevelson worked as an assistant to Diego Rivera prior to participating in her first group exhibition, organized by the Secession Gallery, at the Brooklyn Museum in 1935. Nevelson taught art at the Education Alliance School of Art (NY) as a part of the Works Progress Administration. She received her first solo exhibition at the prestigious Nierendorf Gallery in New York City in 1941, and since that time, her work has been the subject of nearly 260 solo exhibitions worldwide. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Nevelson worked at the Sculpture Center (NY) and at Atelier 17. The artist produced her first series of black wood landscape sculptures during the mid- 50s. Shortly after, three major New York City museums would acquire Nevelson’s work over the course of three successive years: the Whitney Museum of American Art (1956); The Brooklyn Museum (1957); and The Museum of Modern Art (1958). Nevelson began showing regularly at the Pace Gallery in 1964. The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY) organized Nevelson’s first major retrospective in 1967. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Nevelson was occupied with numerous public commissions and the production of large-scale sculpture and monumental environments, often using Cor-Ten steel.
Throughout her career, Nevelson received many accolades and held numerous leadership positions within the arts community, including: President of the Artist’s Equity New York chapter (1957-59); two-time President of National Artist’s Equity (1962, 1963); first Vice-President of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors (1962); National Association of Women Artists member (1962); Sculptor’s Guild member (1962); participant in the National Council on the Arts and Government, Washington, DC (1965); and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (1979). Nevelson received honorary degrees from Western College for Women (Oxford, OH; 1966), Smith College (Northampton, MA; 1973), Columbia University (New York, NY; 1977), and Boston University (Boston, MA; 1978). Institutions and organizations recognized Nevelson with prizes including: Grand Prize for work in the Art USA exhibition at the New York Coliseum (1959); the Logan Award for work shown in the 63rd American Exhibition from The Art Institute of Chicago (1960); the MacDowell Colony Medal (1969); the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award in Sculpture (1971); the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (1971); and the President’s Medal of the Municipal Art Society of New York (1979).
Nevelson’s work can be found in nearly 90 public collections worldwide, including: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art; William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Maine; Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino, Italy; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, Netherlands; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Storm King Art Center and Sculpture Park, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Tags: Louise Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera